A survey of UK residents has found that on average, people who download music illegally also spend an average of £77 a year buying it legitimately - considerably more than those who who don't download at all.
The results of the survey, which interviewed a total of 1008 people - not the largest sample size, but not tiny either - and was commissioned by researchers Demos, are rather interesting. Though members of the music industry blame pirates for declining revenues, the survey found that illegal filesharers tend to spend more money on buying music legally than those who walk the straight-and-narrow path all the time.
Of those questioned between the ages of 16 and 50, only one in every 10 admitted to using sites like The Pirate Bay to download songs and albums - but of that group, 80% said they also bought media legitimately, whether CDs, MP3s, or even classic vinyl. The filesharers spent a yearly average of £77 ($126.24, €85.48) on their legal music; the people who denied using illegal services only spent an average of £44 ($72.14, €48.85).
Half of those polled said that they listened to music through official channels on YouTube, while 22% used internet radio services. Only 4% used once-mighty Napster (now legal), and 21% of the respondents hadn't even heard of the filesharing pioneer.
It seems that for many, the sticking point is price - 75% of 16-24-year-olds who responded said that they would be okay with paying for MP3s provided the price was right. The "sweet spot" of pricing seemed to be £0.45, or $0.74, and only 2% said they would buy songs if the cost was over £1.
"Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access to music," said Peter Bradwell, a researcher for Demos involved in the project.
Though a spokesperson for the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that while illegal filesharing was still a severe problem facing the industry, and cautioned people to take the survey with a grain of salt, the findings were heartening and were indicative of positive changes. "[It's] encouraging that the findings signal that the three-pronged approach set out by the Government this week - a mix of education, enforcement and attractive new commercial deals - provides the best way forward for industry and consumers."
Of course, this assumes that all those involved with the poll told the truth, so...