Shakira has waded into an ongoing U.K. debate over illegal downloads - insisting the controversial practice brings her "closer to her fans".
Lily Allen spearheaded a campaign last month (Sep09) to stop illicit file-sharing and called on the British government to help beat illegal downloaders, who she fears will destroy the music industry.
Sir Elton John, Annie Lennox and George Michael backed her protest - but the Whenever, Wherever hitmaker, who has sold millions of records worldwide, is sympathetic to illegal downloaders.
Shakira tells Sky News, "I like what's going on because I feel closer to the fans and the people who appreciate the music. It's the democratisation of music in a way, and music is a gift. That's what it should be, a gift."
Allen is adamant the practice means artists just starting out in the music business will struggle - but singer Nelly Furtado has also joined the debate, insisting losing sales is irrelevant to success.
She adds, "If you love music you're going to make it anyway. You'll find an audience, and you may not make like millions of dollars but you'll make enough to have a house and a family and a car."