Illegal Downloaders Spend More on Music: Study

Want to prosecute people who are downloading files illegally? Well, if you fine them, you might be taking money out of the hands of your best customers, a new survey shows.

It's not the first such survey to come to this conclusion. However, it is the latest.

The study, published on Sunday by U.K. think tank Demos, surveyed 1,008 people aged between 18 and 50 last month. It found that those who admit to illegally downloading music spent an average of £77 a year on music, which is £33 more than those who claim that they never do so.

The British Phonographic Industry estimates that seven million U.K. users download files illegally annually, which will cost the industry £200 million this year. Assuming, however, that the survey held true, the extra £33 spent annually by each of those seven million would add up to £231 million. Hey, that's a profit of £31 million!

Seriously, the study also noted that lowering the price for legally downloaded music could result in a significant decrease in illegal downloads. The sweet spot would seem to be 45p per track. Currently, tracks on iTunes run between 59p and 99p; the survey indicated that sales could double at that price.

Naturally, the music industry wasn't too impressed with the survey. Recent proposals, include a "three strikes, you're out" policy which would terminate broadband service if consumers fail to respond to warning letters; the industry believes this will deter illegal downloaders.

Meanwhile, some, including Forrester Research, have a different view. Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research said, "The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music. They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism. We have a generation of young people who don't have any concept of music as a paid-for commodity. You need to have it at a price point you won't notice."

This same argument has been made for downloaders of other material, such as PC games; many say they download as a sort of "try and buy" method. In terms of this survey, 83% said they buy more music as a result, and 42% said they did so to "try before you buy."

Of course, this doesn't change the fact that illegal downloading is still stealing. It is evident, however, that many younger people just don't see it that way.
gibbersome 5 years ago careful with conclusions.

People who like music spend more money on what?

I would argue there is no "try before you buy" method in illegal music downloading. Just go to youtube if you want to "try" the song out.

That said, the RIAA can &#*$ my @#$&!

Schmich 5 years ago

There's two types of stealing. One where you have something that doesn't belong to you. The other is taking property from someone else. They are quite different. The former doesn't take something away from someone.

Illegal downloads would be the former. The latter is what the RIAA does to the artist. Ironically this is especially the case when it comes to suing illegal downloaders because most, if not all, of that revenue goes to the RIAA and not the artist.

Copyright has also a controversial gray area, mainly when it comes to the Internet. Copyright was put in place so that the artist would get paid for his work. Well in a lot of countries copyright is stopping legal viewing/listening of content. Hulu, music in Europe and would be what I'm recently familiar with.

Instead of Hulu being opened World Wide and getting more revenue to the content makers, people outside the US are downloading these shows. In the past, South Park had their website open, everyone would watch them there and give their revenue instead of it's US only. Trying to find the right site to buy music legally in some countries of Europe can be troublesome and in some cases just impossible (mainly in the eastern countries) reason here is also copyright. What do people do instead then? Download.

gibbersome 5 years ago

Agreed, that's why file sharing sites like rapidshare and megaupload have taken off in recent times. You're able to download media, without any of the risk associated with P2P sharing such as torrents.

Dev 5 years ago

If I try to access a famous torrent site my ISP (Ireland's AT and T) blocks it. Obviously web proxy takes an extra few seconds but it is a pain. 

For a screenshot check out this.

I'm not at all surprised by the findings stated above. 

Post a Comment
or Register to comment