Legal music downloads have certainly gained a lot of traction in recent years, thanks in part to online offerings such as the iTunes Store and the labels’ decision to finally start dropping DRM restrictions. But the fact that more and more ways to legally acquire music are available these days doesn’t particularly mean that piracy is close to coming to an end.
In fact, a recent study by the University of Hertfordshire has found that the average 14- to 24-year-old has almost 900 illegal tracks on their MP3 players. The survey, which questioned 1,200 participants, also revealed that nearly two-thirds of young people download music tracks illegally on an average of 53 songs per month.
The music industry has been struggling to cope with free-falling CD sales for some time now, and the study further shows how dramatically music consumption has changed. The British Music Rights group (which commissioned the research) has been campaigning to make legal music services more appealing, and feels the best way to do it is to have ISPs offer unlimited music download services as an additional fee to a standard broadband package. In fact, they are reportedly expecting agreements with providers such as Virgin Media in the next few weeks.