Young people in Europe are three times more likely to illegally swap songs than they are to download them from legitimate sites such as Apple’s iTunes Music Store, according to new data that suggests the music industry has yet to solve its lingering digital conundrum.
Jupiter Research said file-sharers outnumbered those who paid to download music by a margin of three-to-one. In addition, a third of all 15- to 24-year-olds have illegally shared copyrighted music at least once. Though the report focused primarily on the UK and European markets, analysts say it holds important lessons for the music industry as a whole and serves as a reminder that extensive work remains to replace illegal file-sharing with legitimate download options for good.
Jupiter analyst Mark Mulligan said the high-profile victories for the music industry against the likes of Grokster and other P2P sites are only driving users further into the Web underground, or to other means. For instance, the research found that 43 percent of young consumers would rather copy a friend’s compact disc than buy their own. "By its very nature, music file-sharing can’t be stopped down by taking out a single entity," Mulligan said. "Users simply move to other networks to stay ahead of the music industry."