illegal downloads popular among young broadband users

UK Music's latest annual academic survey investigating the music consumption behaviour of young broadband users aged 14-24 has revealed that illegal downloading ( file sharing / P2P ) is still rife. Its popularity remains unchanged since 2008 - 61% said they download music using P2P networks or torrent trackers and 83% of those are doing so on a weekly or daily basis.

Interestingly the study showed that young people have an inherent sense of what copyright is, but choose to ignore it. The vast majority of respondents knew that sharing copyrighted content is not legal, yet continue to do so. The online survey was completed by more than 1,800 young people throughout the UK.

UK Music CEO, Feargal Sharkey, commented:

"Ironically, for me, perhaps the biggest change is context. Over the past twelve months, the licensed digital music market has diversified enormously - epitomised by competition in the download market and the traction being gained by streaming services. Meanwhile, the prospect of commercial partnerships with ISPs lies tantalisingly on the horizon. And, of course, the UK's artists and creative community continue to break new ground: innovating, experimenting and engaging with fans in all manner of new exciting and ways.

Clearly, the shape of our entire business will continue to evolve. However, we will achieve nothing if we do not work with music fans, and young music fans in particular. They are hugely demanding in their needs, but collectively we must rise to that challenge. We ignore engagement at our peril. That message is loud and clear."

Happily there appears to be real interest for new licensed services, with 85% of P2P downloader's expressing interest in paying for an unlimited all-you-can-eat MP3 download service. The research also showed that 'ownership' of music is hugely important to young people - both online and offline.

Additional Survey Results:

• Music remains the most valued form of entertainment.

• 87% said that copying between devices is important to them.

• 86% of respondents have copied a CD for a friend; 75% have sent music by email, Bluetooth, Skype or MSN; 57% have copied a friend's entire music collection; 39% have downloaded music from an online storage site; and 38% have ripped a TV, radio or internet stream.

• The computer is the main entertainment hub - 68% of respondents use it every day to listen to music.

It's worth pointing out that the study was carried out during the spring of this year and the new 'Digital Britain' measures proposed to help curb piracy among UK broadband ISPs users (here) has yet to be officially put into place and probably won't be until sometime in 2010.

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