Rise in illegal downloads

Rise in illegal downloads

July 30, 2015

Entertainment Media Research, Europe’s foremost entertainment research consultancy, has published its fourth annual Digital Music Survey. Of 1,700 people questioned, 43% admitted they were illegally downloading tracks. In 2006, this figure was 36%, and in 2005 it was 40%.

There was a fall in the percentage of people concerned about the risk of being prosecuted. Only 33% stated that the risk of prosecution for unauthorised downloading acted as a deterrent. In 2006 this figure was 42%.

The survey showed that 18% intended to download more unauthorised tracks, and this figure was only 8% in 2006.

The report indicates that price is the key factor for the slowdown in legal downloading, after sharp price increases in 2005 and 2006. As the cost of CDs in the shops falls, the perceived cost advantage of digital downloads disappears. The report suggests one way to tackle that may be for music companies to consider introducing differential pricing, with digital downloads of older tracks cheaper than new releases.

Of the 1,700 people questioned, 84% agreed that older digital downloads should be cheaper and 48% claimed they would be prepared to pay more for newly released tracks.

It is considered that, as illegal downloading hits an all-time high and consumers’ fear of prosecution falls, the music industry must look for more ways to encourage the public to download music legally.

Howver, BPI, the music industry association, is of the opinion that future success is not just down to new business models but also better protection against piracy, particularly from internet service providers. A spokesman for the association has said that industry cannot do it alone. ISPs as gatekeepers, and government as legislators, must also play an active role in tackling copyright theft if the UK is to thrive as a knowledge economy.

Tim Yeo

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