Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias has said that illegal downloading of songs from the Internet "is like going to the supermarket and coming out with... two melons under your arm, free: it's all stealing in the end", EFE news agency reported.
But the artist, who Saturday night attended the 10th gala edition of the NRJ Music Awards in the southern French city of Cannes, said that "everything goes according to culture" in so far as piracy of this sort is concerned.
"Unfortunately, I don't know if people realise that when they put music on to the Internet for free it's influencing not only the artistes but also the (other) people who make their livings from it."
"Each week you see that they're firing people from the record companies," since the consumption of "music has declined each year by 20 per cent", Iglesias said.
"Earlier in Spain you would sell 500,000 albums and nowadays the highest-selling albums are just 200,000 ... and if you get there, it's insane," he said.
Iglesias said that artists "don't earn the money (they) made before - there's no doubt of that," and he emphasised that "everything has changed" about "the way in which people enjoy music".
The singer said that the environment for new music talent "isn't easy", since "technology opens up (the road) from time to time, but it's like you're playing the lottery".
"Nowadays, for the record companies, it's become more difficult to get started with new artists," he said.
The Grammy winner said that currently "the kids have so many things to entertain themselves with among video games. On the Internet there are 500 things they can do, television channels."
Iglesias won the trophy for best international artist at the NRJ Music Awards.