From a story at Maccentral:

The film, video, music and leisure software industries in Europe claim they lose over ?4.5 billion (US$4.9 billion) annually as a result of piracy.

Now that I'm starting to take a closer look at the shareware community (since, albeit an embarassing fifteen to thirty days later than planned, I'm joining it), statements like this are starting to bother me. In shareware, there are much too many people claiming that they've lost who knows how many untold thousands by being cracked, but can't begin to let you know how many untold thousands the untold thousands represent, which, of course, leaves them forever untold.

But I've missed a step. Here, the recording industry has enough dough to actually venture a guess, but the guess is [I assume] based on adding up the cost for all these people actually legitimately purchase the albums from which their pirated content comes.

That's completely bogus, and is the same reason shareware authors think they're losing untold thousands. Look, many of these people downloading mp3s weren't going to buy your danged CDs. They weren't. Certainly not as many CDs as they've downloaded. The cost for downloading a song you don't like it practically nil. You download, listen, hate, erase. It's not lost revenue in every case. And then you've got a few people that'll listen to something online and, on the strength of a few songs, go out and buy a few discs, and the recording companies come out ahead.

The recording industry and shareware authors (and I'll probably sing another tune once cracks start showing up) need to simmer down. You might be losing a few bucks, but not nearly as many as you think.