New Study States The Obvious: Kids Download A Lot Of Music

from the this-is-not-going-away dept

Over the past few months, there's been a push among some to suggest that file sharing is really a marginalized behavior, only done by a small group of people -- and that with just a little education (and maybe a few big legal victories, such as the ones against Jammie Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum -- combined with new services like Spotify), perhaps it can be brought "under control." The "evidence" given for this has often been a case study in how to use statistics to delude yourself, often looking at the total percentage of people or internet users who engage in file sharing. But, the fact is that ignores the real issue: which is that kids today (tomorrow's consumers) are file sharing at a very high rate. A new study, sponsored by UK Music (the UK organization that's looking to get ISPs to put in place some sort of blanket licensing plan) has found that over 60% of kids in the UK admit to file sharing, with 83% of those admitting to doing it regularly, and those surveyed claiming to have downloaded an average of 8,100 tracks. Think about that for a second. 8,100 tracks.

While the defenders of the old system want to liken file sharing to a problem like shoplifting, at some point you have to realize it's something entirely different. This isn't a marginal behavior done by "bad kids." This is about as common as can be. Oddly, the BBC tried to spin this report to say that file sharing has dropped, but that "drop" was only 2% and it's within the margin of error of the survey -- meaning there's no actual evidence that it dropped. The study also contradicted that other study we wrote about recently (also in the UK) that claimed that kids were replacing downloading with streaming services. In this survey, 78% said they had no interest in a streaming service, and 89% saying they'd never pay for such a service.

Given the two conflicting studies (both sponsored by biased parties), you have to question the results of both. But, given the fact that kids are more likely to deny file sharing activity these days, rather than admit to it (knowing they could get in trouble for it), you have to wonder if this study even undercounts the actual activity.

Now, once again, let's make a clear point: I'm not saying this is right or legal. I don't think anyone should download music from an artist who does not authorize it. But the fact is that file sharing is not a "small thing" among kids today, and to think that there's some sort of magical method of getting it to go away is wishful thinking. Given that we're seeing more and more artists learn how to embrace file sharing to do better with their own business models, at some point it's time for those fighting against it to recognize -- from the copyright holders' perspective -- that it's better not to fight what consumers want, but to embrace it, combined with a smart business model, and stop worrying.
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Filed Under: downloads, kids, uk
Companies: uk music


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    Duh, not authority that way - in the authority that says you have to pay for stuff instead of shoplifting, that you don't binge drink when you are 16, that you don't get pregnant when you are 17, etc. All of these are major problems in the UK, and it all comes back to a lack of respect for authority.

    It's easy to say "the authorities didn't earn our respect", but that is a truly horsecrap excuse. Civilized society can respect the rules and laws without loving every one of them. This mentality that you can randomly pick and choose which rules and laws to follow or ignore is a pretty big lack of respect not just for authority, but your neighbors and fellow citizens.

    There is very little way to support the level of thievery that is going on right now.

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