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Friday, 27 November 2009 11:00

Listeners are abandoning illegal downloads

Written by Nick Farell


Image

It was all about choice

 

Punters are turning to authentic digital music files, and ignoring file sharing sites. According to the Sydney Morning Herald the reason for the trend is not because of the heavy handed actions of the music companies in locking up file sharers.

Instead it is because of an explosion of new companies offering tracks free, legally, without consumers having to go to peer-to-peer sites. In other worlds people are flocking to them simply because it is a much easier way of listening to music. What is amusing is the music industry appears to have missed the boat. None of the sites was started by the music industry.

Itunes, Comes with Music, Spotify.com and We7.com, have gained at least 5 million new users in their first year, mainly people who previously downloaded illegally. The chief executive of We7, Steve Purdham, is quoted as saying that the different music services are popping up are better than free because it is easier than downloading illegally. There are other services planned too. Rdio.com from the founders of Skype, Virgin Media, Sky Songs and mog.com, which will offer a $5-a-month inclusive service.

What this appears to be saying is that p2p piracy only thrived because the music industry did not support legal download systems. They should have twigged earlier. While the the music industry was complaining that users wouldn't pay for tracks, the same people were paying up to $5 a pop for ringtones on their phones.

It is also fairly clear that it has not learnt its lession. The music industry is still leaning on ISPs, and governments to come up with draconian penalties for file sharers, when it would be a lot more effective to support music and film sites at a reasonable price.

All this is going on when this year was the most successful in British history for singles sales. More than 117 million have been sold — comfortably beating the previous record of 115.1 million, set last year.

Nick Farell

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