To Fight Piracy, Music Industry Must Make It Easier To Download Music Legally

Jul 31st, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

Despite the tremendous popularity of legal music downloads, and the widespread availability of free legal music downloads, music piracy is at an all-time high, according to a report out today that urges the record industry to make legal buying easier and cheaper.

Why? A growing band of consumers are unconcerned about being prosecuted for illegal downloads, according to Entertainment Media Research.

Its fourth annual Digital Music Survey, suggests that piracy is widespread:

  • 43% say that they are illegally downloading tracks, rising from 36% last year and 40% in 2005.
  • Only 33% cited the risk of being prosecuted as a deterrent against unauthorised downloading, compared with 42% in 2006.
  • Nearly one in five respondents – 18% – claimed an intention to download more unauthorised tracks, up from 8% in 2006.
  • Price is the key factor for the slowdown in legal downloading after sharp increases in 2005 and 2006. As the cost of CDs in shops has fallen the perceived cost advantage of digital downloads has been eroded.

The report suggests one way to tackle that may be for music companies to consider introducing differential pricing, something that Apple has fought against, suggesting that the record companies were getting greedy. 84% of consumers, though, agreed that older digital downloads should be cheaper and 48% claimed they would be prepared to pay more for newly released tracks.

John Enser, head of music at law firm Olswang, said: “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.”

The music industry association BPI hit back, saying future success was not just down to new business models but also better protection against piracy, particularly from internet service providers. “Industry cannot do it alone,” said a spokesman. “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.”.

The latest Digital Music Survey does have some more upbeat findings for the industry. More than half of the respondents use social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace to discover new music. And almost a fifth of social network users said such discoveries had a “big/massive impact” on the way they bought music and 30% claim they “regularly/occasionally” buy CDs or downloads of music that they discovered on a social network site.

No Responses to “To Fight Piracy, Music Industry Must Make It Easier To Download Music Legally”

  1. Final Taxi says:

    Most of the ‘new’ music I buy are those I found off a social network site. If they link to someone that I like I will find them and listen to the samples.

    Pricing for downloads has the change. The Rogue Russian site AllofMp3 had the right idea. Pay for the size of the file and the bandwidth. Many of the bands I like have a 30 second or 1 minute open before the first song. And I may run into a 12 minute song as well. Why do I have to pay the same price for each song? What if I don’t want a high grade file or want a CD- quality one? Should they all be .99 cents?

  2. The comment about Apple is misleading. Apple doesn’t mind differential pricing — as long as it doesn’t raise the ceiling currently employed. Record companies want to **raise** prices, not lower them.

  3. Jughead says:

    This report sheds light on several disturbing trends for the music industry:

    People (especially young people doing the majority of pirated downloading) are increasingly unwilling to pay ANYTHING for their music.

    The record companies have demonstrated complete incompetence in creative pricing strategies. They’ve dug their own grave.

    Audio and Video music podcasts “could” provide a new revenue source for musicians and the record companies by placing advertisements into podcasts. Why would people put up with a fifteen second ad in a podcast? Because of the ability of podcasts to do the following.

    Music podcasts have the capability of being automatically downloaded to the consumer via RSS (similarly to the CD music clubs of years gone by). They can come in the form of audio, video, slideshow and text.

    Music podcasts can include, artist interviews, live concert footage, acoustic versions, behind the scenes content, rehearsal footage, outtakes, VH1 style profiles, song lyrics inserted via PDF, etc, etc.

    The “napsterization” of the music industry has officially created an insurmountable problem for all of the major record labels. While ads in music podcasts won’t recoup all of their losses, it’s time for them to wake up to the power of podcasting as a viable alternative to shrinking music sales.

  4. Drew says:

    If songs were 10 cents a piece, I’d buy them. 99 cents is just too much, and I’m not even getting the liner notes and artwork of a CD case or an album cover.

  5. Rowley says:

    People are willing to pay for music – I have resorted to second hand CDs sometimes to get what I want because its either not there online, or it’s too expensive.
    People will still download non-drm mp3s from torrent sites and peer to peer because it can be done,
    I think when the record companies see that “making it cheap and easier, sells more” piracy will diminish, why go through the hassle and risk of possibly not downloading the right files from pirate sites?
    £0.15 ($0.30) I feel is a good price point Рhell Рeven my eldest can afford that if she wanted the latest single from whoever!

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