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File-Swappers Spend on Legal Digital Music?

The BBC and the UK’s The Register are reporting on a study from market research firm The Leading Question which found that Britons who actively share and download music illegally via peer-to-peer or file-sharing networks are also the biggest spenders on legal music downloads. In fact, they spend four-and-a-half times as much on legal digital music as the average music fan.

According to the stories, Britons who regularly downloaded illegal music spent an average of £5.52 a month on legal music, while music fans who didn’t participate in illegal file sharing spent jut £1.27 a month.

The research suggests that users of illegal file-swapping services are among the music industry’s best customers, and are willing to adopt legitimate services which meet their needs.

Previous studies have shown a decline in traditional-media music sales in recent years, while sales of online music downloads have tripled during 2005. Music industry groups such as the RIAA and the British Phonographic Industry have long cited illegal downloads as a primary cause of declining sales.

The Leading Question’s survey also reportedly asked 600 Britons about their preferred digital music devices: 8 percent said they planned to purchase an MP3-enabled phone, while fully a third intended to purchase a dedicated MP3 player.

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