While many colleges across the country have begun thinking of new ways to prevent students’ pirating of music files, a new study out of England suggests that colleges may have less download activity to police.
Survey results released Monday by the British research companies Music Ally and the Leading Question show that more people are listening to music online legally instead of downloading it illegally.
According to the survey of 1,000 music fans, the ratio of music tracks obtained illegally to those gotten legally has decreased from 4-to-1 in December 2007 to 2-to-1 in January 2009, with many more listeners using Web sites like YouTube and MySpace to listen to “streamed” music.
The age group with the largest drop in downloads was teenagers from 14 to 18 years old. In that same 13-month period, the proportion of teenagers downloading music at least once a month decreased from 42 percent to 26 percent. Nearly two-thirds of teenagers surveyed said they streamed music regularly, with 31 percent listening to streamed music every day.
“These figures challenge the idea that file sharing will just continue to grow,” Music Ally’s chief executive, Paul Brindley, told The Guardian. “While we don’t think for a second that it shows the war against piracy is won, it does at least suggest that there is encouraging news for the music industry.”
Combating illegal music downloads has been a touchy subject in England and the United States in recent years. Last month the Recording Industry Association of America won $1.92-million in fines from a woman who had shared 24 songs online. The RIAA is currently fighting a Boston University graduate student for downloading and sharing copyrighted music. —Marc Beja