RIAA declares music piracy "contained"

If we're to believe RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol's take on the current state of digital piracy, it would appear that enough consumers have been swayed by the music industry's carrot-and-stick approach of cheap songs and highly-publicized lawsuits that illegal downloading, although not eliminated, has finally been "contained." Even though physical album sales are still declining, Bainwol claims that the rapid growth of legal digital downloads -- up 77% in the past year -- balance out the loss, proving that iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, and the like are offering compelling services that have encouraged folks to give up their lives of crime. Bainwol certainly paints a rosy picture here, and while we'd love to imagine that our fellow Netizens have suddenly and inexplicably developed a group conscience, what seems much more likely is that higher bandwidth and the advent of the torrent have simply turned former music pirates from the RIAA's nightmare into the MPAA's.