People who use peer-to-peer filesharing websites like Pirate Bay to illegally download music spend over £30 more on music per year than those who do not download illegally, according to new research.
Internet users who claim to never illegally download music spend an average of £44 per person on music per year, while those who do admit to illegal downloading spend £77, amounting to an estimated £200m in revenue per year.
A new poll commissioned by Demos found that almost one in ten adults (9%) aged 16-50 who have internet access admit downloading music illegally. But this group are also active music buyers, with 8 in 10 buying CDs, vinyl or MP3s in the past year. The poll also found that 42 per cent of illegal downloaders agree that they ‘like to try things out before I decide whether to buy them.’
The findings suggest that government plans to disconnect repeat illegal downloaders from the internet, announced yesterday by Lord Mandelson, could do the music industry more harm than good by punishing core consumers. The poll showed that the availability of new, appealing legal music provision services is the step most likely to encourage illegal downloaders to stop, above fines or the threat of disconnection.
The research reveals a gap between what consumers are willing to pay for music tracks and current market prices. If official music distribution sites like iTunes lowered the cost of a single track to 45p they could expect prospective buyers to double in number.
Peter Bradwell, a researcher at Demos specialising in digital rights and consumer trends said: “The latest approach from the government will not help to prop up an ailing music industry. Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access to music.”
This polling data comes from 1,008 online interviews conducted by Ipsos MediaCT in October 2009 amongst GB adults aged 16-50 years (representative of the online population). The research was sponsored by Virgin Media.