Illegal Downloads Won’t Go Away

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A new British study conducted by music rights groups MCPS-PRS Alliance and online media measurement company Big Champagne has shown that illegal downloading is here to stay, and that the music industry has to accept the fact and learn to work with it.

The study was conducted around the online release of the last Radiohead album, In Rainbows, where those downloading it could pay what they wished for the music. The study found that a majority of users still pirated the music, preferring to download it from illegal sites and torrents rather than from the official site.

"Even when the price approaches zero," reads the report, "people are more likely to act habitually (say, using Pirate Bay) than to break their habit (say, visiting"

However, the report is also careful to point out that when released on CD, In Rainbows sold extremely well, topping the UK charts, and that Radiohead concerts continue to be sell outs.

"The expectation among rights holders is that in order to create a success story, you must reduce the rate of piracy," study co-author Eric Garland told the Financial Times. "We’ve found that is not the case."

Instead, the study argues that the music industry needs to look at other ways to generate income, such as licensing music to video-content sites or legal peer-to-peer sites.