The arrival of downloading music online has meant that more and more tracks have been available to the general public than ever before.

The problem with this is consumers haven't been able to see the wood for the trees and have decidedly stuck to what they know when downloading music.

Recent figures suggest that out of the 13 million tracks available for download, just 52,000 songs made up 80 per cent of music purchased online.

When it comes to albums, a staggering 1.23 million albums were made available with just 173,000 bought – which equates to 85 per cent of bands and singers who released an album this year did not sell one single copy.

New schools meet old rules

These online music statistics were compiled by Will Page, chief economist of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, and Andrew Bud, the head of mobile software company mBlox.

Speaking to the Times about their findings, Bud said: "There is an eerie similarity between a digital and high-street retailer in terms of what constitutes an efficient inventory and the shape of their respective demand curves.

"I think there's something more going on there: a case of new schools meets old rules."