Surprise!!! There is no link between downloading and declining record sales.
Read this study conducted by Felix Oberholzer of the Harvard Business School and Koleman Strumph of UNC Chapel Hill and published in March of 2004.
The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales
I want to plead with my fellow musicians to read this and consider... to be enlisted into the fight against file sharing is the perfect analogy to how the politicians have convinced legions of poor Americans to support their program of tax cuts for the extremely wealthy by diverting them with issues such as "flag burning" or "gay marriage"! Their party is not about social issues such as these... it's about control of wealth and its distribution. Likewise, the major label fight agains file sharing is NOT about protecting artists from losing sales... it's about CONTROLLING the DISTRIBUTION of MUSIC!!!
Is your music represented on Napster, now that it's legit (i.e., controlled by a media giant), or iTunes (controlled by a media giant) or MusicMatch (controlled by a media giant wanna-be). Hmmmm... I thought not. I've repeatedly written the folks at Napster using their "Artist and Label Inquiries" link -- thus far, no reply. You try... let me know how you fare. Here's the link:
Napster Artist and Label Inquiries
If you are a musician or work for a record label and want to find out about featuring your music on Napster, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.