A British lobby group claims teenagers and students carry an average 800 copied songs on their iPods.
British Music Rights - which works on behalf of composers, songwriters and publishers - recently hired the University of Hertfordshire to research the music consumption patterns of young people aged 14-24. The average age of respondents was 22. The survey was carried out in February and March 2008, and is the largest UK academic survey of its kind.
The survey revealed that around 90 percent of respondents now own an MP3 player. They contain an average of 1,770 tracks - half of which have not been paid for.
The researchers found 58 percent of respondents to have copied music from a friend's hard drive to their own, and 95 percent copy music in some way. 63 percent download music using P2P file-sharing networks. 42 percent have allowed P2P users to upload music from their computer. "Much of this behaviour is viewed as altruistic," the research says.
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However, 60 percent of the survey group said they would continue to buy CDs, and the survey revealed that the cash spent on live music exceeds that spent on recorded music.
Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of British Music Rights, said: "The music industry should draw great optimism from this groundbreaking survey. First and foremost, it is quite clear that this young and tech-savvy demographic is as crazy about and engaged with music as any previous generation. Contrary to popular belief, they are also prepared to pay for it too. But only if offered the services they want. That message comes through loud and clear.
"These responses also pull no punches in highlighting how dramatically music consumption has changed, and continues to change; certainly in the case of copying, sharing and recommendation."