A a new study in the UK has found that Brits who illegally download music from the internet also spend more money on music than anyone else.
The survey found that those who admit to illegally downloading music spent an average of $125 a year on music – that's $54 more than those who claim that they never download music dishonestly.
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 16- to 50-year-olds with internet access, found that one in 10 people admit to downloading music illegally, which music industry figures dispute. The poll suggested the Government's plan to disconnect illegal downloaders if they ignore official warning letters could deter people from internet piracy, with 61 per cent of illegal downloaders surveyed admitting they would be put off downloading music illegally by the threat of having their internet service cut off for a month.
But cutting off Internet access to file-sharers could be counter-productive if selling them music is a goal. "The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music," said Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research. "They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism. We have a generation of young people who don't have any concept of music as a paid-for commodity," he continued. "You need to have it at a price point you won't notice."
The Digital Economy Bill, which will become law in the UK next April, provides new measures to crack down on internet piracy but has generated plenty of criticism from internet service providers, who say it will be difficult to enforce.
It's interesting that artists are also divided over the issue, with Lily Allen and James Blunt recently supporting the Government's stance, while the Latin pop star Shakira argues that illegal file sharing brings her closer to her fans. With other studies stating that file sharing as a whole is declining, and predicting that it's demise should music subscription finally become widely accepted, the whole issue could become moot before the bill's effect takes hold.