Music streaming is reducing illegal music downloads

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.

Legal digital sales are also seeing an unprecedented boom, although sales are far from making up from the shortfall created by the collapse of the physical market. Digital singles were up 41.5% in 2008, while physical singles sales plunged 43.5%, according to the BPI.

Read more here.

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