Monday, July 13, 2009

COLLAPSE IN ILLEGAL SHARING AND BOOM IN STREAMING BRINGS MUSIC TO EXECUTIVES' EARS

They are the record companies' bogeyman: the 15-year-old in their bedroom ripping off a star's latest album and sharing it with their friends has been blamed for bringing an industry to its knees.

But new research shows that the number of teenagers illegally sharing music has fallen dramatically in the past year.

The survey of 1,000 fans also shows that many14 to 18 year olds are now streaming music regularly online using services such as YouTube and Spotify.

At the same time less than a third of teenagers are now illegally downloading music, the survey suggests. In January this year 26% of 14 to 18 year olds admitted filesharing at least once a month compared with 42% in December 2007.

The research revealed that many teenagers (65%) are streaming music regularly, with more 14 to 18 year olds (31%) listening to streamed music on their computer every day compared with music fans overall (18%).

The picture may be more complex than a simple shift from filesharing to streaming, with people sharing music in new ways such as via bluetooth technology, on blogs, and through copying, also known as ripping content from friends' MP3 devices.

Even though users of streaming services are not necessarily buying more music, the industry benefits by learning more about fans' tastes. Steve Purdham, CEO and founder of We7, a music streaming service and download store, said: "They may not buy an album, though they have that opportunity, but you can sell them tour tickets and a T-shirt of their favourite band."

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