Sheffield has been rated fifth in a league of shame which shows the number of people illegally downloading music in the UK.
Research carried out by the Digital Music Index, found 748,301 music files were pirated in Sheffield in the first half of 2012.
City musician Jon McClure, lead singer of Reverend and the Makers, said fans had to realise that if musicians didn’t make a living they would no longer be able to make music.
He told The Star: “People have to be aware that a lot of musicians don’t make a lot of money.
“They have to understand that if they download music illegally musicians aren’t going to be able to go forward making music.”
Jon added: “If I can survive and keep making records then that’s fine, and if people come and see us live then downloading music illegally is forgiveable.”
The singer said loyal fan bases were crucial for musicians to survive, adding it was difficult to discipline those who downloaded music illegally.
He said his friend Ed Sheeran, the creator of the most illegally downloaded album ‘+’ and a supporter of file sharing, ‘realises the reality of the situation’.
The highest number of files illegally downloaded per head was in Manchester where 1,317,012 files were illegally saved.
That was followed by Nottingham, Southampton, Liverpool, and Sheffield.
The Digital Music Index found more than 43 million albums and singles were downloaded in the first half of 2012, with Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks and Rihanna being some of the most popular artists.
Whilst London and Birmingham topped the chart for the total number of downloads - 7 million and 1 million music files respectively - Sheffield was placed fifth when population was considered.
It is thought its large student population may be part of the reason for the large number of downloads per capita, as other locations in the top ten such as Nottingham, Southampton and Liverpool are also large student cities.
Good quality broadband speed in the city has also been cited as a reason for higher numbers of downloads.
The research has been met with a mixed response by those in the music industry.
Objectors say the expansion of file sharing damages sales and revenues of albums and singles.