Even with the fall of Napster and rise of Spotify, it appears illegally downloading music is still the fashionable thing to do.

The Digital Music Index, a new report created by music analytics company Musicmetric, compiled statistics about fan habits, socially engaged artists and the music industry in general. It also revealed the countries in which unauthorized BitTorrent downloads are most popular.

BitTorrents, files that are broken down into smaller pieces, make it easy to share large amounts of data (album or movie files, for example) over the Internet. Here's how PCMag defines this kind of file swapping:

BitTorrent does not use a centralized server to store the files. Each downloading user becomes a source for another user who wants the same file. [...] When you download a "torrent," you are also uploading a part of the file to another user. BitTorrent balances the load on the computer, because broadband download speeds are faster than upload speeds.

To gather data on the top downloading countries of 2011 - 2012, Musicmetric pulled information from licensed services, such as s Spotify, Deezer, 7Digital and iTunes. Next the company analyzed artists using social networks and blogs to promote their music, according to the report summary. Finally, information on BitTorrent downloads for the first six months of 2012 was also researched, revealing that 405 million torrents of music releases were downloaded globally during that time.

Interestingly enough, the study noted the unique case of dub-step artist Billy Van, who actually inked a distribution deal with BitTorrent Inc for his "Cardigan" EP release. Van saw the EP catapulted ahead of all the most popular torrent downloads in several of the top countries for torrent downloads. He's apparently "very happy" with the success, according to TorrentFreak.

However, Van seems to be an exception among artists whose music is shared by torrent users. PCWorld notes that most of the torrent downloads tracked for Musicmetric's study "are not legally available on the [BitTorrent] network."

Check out the slideshow of the countries downloading the most BitTorrents (below). Do any of the rankings surprise you when taking population into account? Let us know your thoughts about music piracy in the comments section, or tweet us at [@HuffPostTech].

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  • #9 - France

    BitTorrent downloads: 8.39 million Most downloaded artist: Sexion d'Assaut Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #8 - India

    BitTorrent downloads: 8.96 million Most downloaded artist: Billy Van Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #7 - Spain

    BitTorrent downloads: 10.3 million Most downloaded artist: Pablo Alboran Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #6 - Australia

    BitTorrent downloads: 19.23 million Most downloaded artist: Hilltop Hoods Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #5 - Brazil

    BitTorrent downloads: 19.72 million Most downloaded artist: Billy Van Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #4 - Canada

    BitTorrent downloads: 23.95 million Most downloaded artist: Kanye West Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #3 - Italy

    BitTorrent downloads: 33.15 million Most downloaded artist: Laura Pausini Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #2 - The United Kingdom

    BitTorrent downloads: 43.26 million Most downloaded artist: Ed Sheeran Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

  • #1 - The United States

    BitTorrent downloads: 96.68 million Most downloaded artist: Drake Statistics from the <a href="http://www.musicmetric.com/dmi/" target="_hplink">Digital Music Index </a>

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