By J.C Dick
An online survey reveals controversial figures proving that on average users of file sharing networks spend more money on music than those that claim not to download illegally. The survey commissioned by researchers group Demos looked at opinions of 1008 UK internet users through an online poll. Results revealed that contrary to popular opinion; 75% of 16-24 year olds were prepared to pay for MP3s. The optimum price for the survey group as a whole was 45 pence for an individual track, with just 2% saying they would pay more than £1.
The survey also revealed new trends in online music use as it showed that despite once being a leader in the field of peer-to-peer file sharing only 4% of the poll group used Napster, and even more controversially 21% of the group had never even heard of it at all.
It could be argued that this poll signifies a revolution in attitudes and habits towards file sharing and music consumption. More and more users are turning to official services such as Spotify and internet radio stations, and also purchasing tracks with file sharing users spending an average of £77 in comparison to non users spending £44.
This is possibly in reaction to the draft Digital Economy Bill that poses a greater threat to illegal sharing of licensed material. This bill proposes to cut off internet access of those using illegal file sharing, however Lord Mandelson said that this would be a “last resort” and that he has “no expectation of mass suspensions. People will receive two notifications and if it reaches the point [of cutting them off] they will have the opportunity to appeal,”.
Research like this is vital in looking past preconceptions of file sharing and its users and is vital in restructuring the Creative Industries in Britain. As Demos researcher Peter Bradwell states, “Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access to music,”. The findings pave the way for a more balanced approach and will ultimately lead to lawmakers working with consumers to find an ideal solution that is mutually beneficial.