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Jupiter: EU iPod Owners Not Digging iTunes?

A new market research report from Jupiter Research finds that while Europeans will spend more than €385 million (almost $490 million USD) on digital music during 2006—and a big portion of that money will be going to Apple—fewer than 20 percent of iPod users regularly purchase music. Instead, users tend to fill up their iPods with MP3 files they already own, music ripped from their own audio CDs or audio CDs someone already owned, or with tracks downloaded from file-sharing sites.

Jupiter’s report finds that just 17 percent of iPod owners regularly buy and download music, which they defined as buying at least a single track once per month. Moreover, statistically, just 5 percent of the music on an iPod is likely to be purchased from any online music store.

The report concludes that, fundamentally, digital music sales have not altered the ways digital music customers buy and obtain music, and warns that lumping portable music player owners into a single market group is misleading. Some users continue to use file-sharing and other free sources of music (regardless of their legality) even if they also use legal commercial music services.

The only overarching characteristic of digital music consumers the report highlights is that owners of portable music players are likely to buy more music, rather than less, and they’re especially likely to buy standard audio CDs. And digital music consumers like getting music for free, which may bode well for ad-driven services like the forthcoming Spiral Frog, even if the free tracks are laden with DRM technologies to inhibit distribution and sharing.

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