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
    Name The Game, 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's like you didn't read my post at all:

    "When dealing with copyrights, you are not dealing with property-- you are dealing with a government granted monopoly. It is not property. It is not owned. It is *granted* for a limited amount of time."

    Right above that (and you even italic'ed it):

    Downloading is just another lack of respect for property, for rights, and for artists.

    what part of rights didn't you catch?

    WHen you go off on a "it's not property" or an "it's not theft" direction, I know you ran out of material. Quite simply, that is the whipping post when you have nothing else to say. Got it.

    "Without citation or a link, I can easily infer that the laws in the UK are too strict, from that statement."

    It could also be that you are unfamiliar with the country, and that a few minutes of research online might enlighten you a bit.

    http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0511.pdf - considering that only 76% of 25-34 year olds have what would be called a "high school leaving" in the UK (11 percentage points lower than the US), the actual graduation numbers are somewhere under 50% in normal time. 1.1-1.5% of the youth population is in prison at any given time in the UK. http://www.poverty.org.uk/33/index.shtml - Sine the vast majority of chargable offenses don't lead to jail time, the true number of youths involved in crime is significant in the UK - way above the US levels. You can also look at: http://www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/statistics/statistics066.htm

    plenty of information out there if you care to take the time to learn.

    "If anyone has a lack of respect for artists, it's the record labels that swindle them out of the rights to their art through contracts they don't understand knowing they couldn't afford the lawyer's fees to have it explained to them, giving them a small fraction of the retail sale of their art *after the artist has paid back the loan*, yet the artists never gets the rights to their art back."

    The artists get to keep the most important thing, it's called "FAME". Ask Thom Yorke what fame is worth. Millions.

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