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Legal music downloads rock steady

Study finds listeners are using paid services

US music buyers are making more use of digital music services.

Research firm The NPD Group reveals that the number of US CD buyers who have also bought music digitally has "more than tripled" so far in 2004, with just under five percent of CD buyers now saying they have used such services. Just 1.7 percent of CD buyers also used these services in 2003.

Consumers who downloaded from a legal service or became paid members of subscription services showed only a slight reduction in the number of CDs that they purchased at retail. The average consumer who paid for digital music as well as CDs purchased less than one fewer CD in 2003 compared to 2002.

The labels will be pleased with a second finding, that: "the likelihood that a CD and download purchaser also downloaded a song through an unauthorised service in 2004 has also fallen, from 64 percent in 2003 to 42 percent in 2004."

CD buyers who also used an online music subscription service such as Rhapsody in the past twelve months purchased an average of 11 CDs last year; those who had paid for a music download from legal download site such as iTunes purchased 10 CDs; those who used a P2P file-sharing site purchased eight CDs; and those who did not download or stream music from the web bought six CDs.

However, the industry is going to have to determine a child-friendly way to protect itself against copyright abuse on the part of children and teens.
Research from Harris Interactive on behalf of the Business Software Alliance reveals that 88 percent of children between eight and 18 already understand copyright, but continue to use file-sharing to download media all the same.

More than half, 53 percent, of 1100 US children aged between eight and 18 surveyed admitted to downloading music, 32 percent download games, 22 percent software and 17 percent download movies.

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