New Music Survey: Heavy Pirates Tend To Buy More Music

Senior Contributor
01.22.13 2 Comments

Recently Google paid for an independent study by Columbia University researchers… and turned up results that probably annoy and offend pretty much everybody.

The survey, which studied both German and American music buyers, is called Copy Culture In The U.S. And Germany. We’ve weighed in on a previous version of the survey, but the new, updated version has some fascinating statistics in its own right:

  • P2P users tend to buy more music legitimately, although their pirated collections are still pretty substantial, especially in Germany.
  • 70% of people under thirty share files, but it tends, surprisingly, to be physical media: People upload a mix to a thumb drive or burn their friends a copy of a TV show.
  • Germany’s consumers are way more zealous about stopping piracy: 59% of respondents thought that file-sharing should be punishable, while only 52% of Americans agreed. That said, 52% of Americans also thought search engines should block links to pirated content.
  • 29% of Americans under 30 get all their music from a streaming service, like Spotify.

The full survey is a fascinating read, as much for the cultural differences as for an insight into how and why people copy files. For example, Americans are far more techy than Germans, using more digital formats and owning more e-readers and other gadgets. We also buy way more cable than Germans; although to be fair they have state-sponsored TV.

The key thing to note, though, is that it’s not file-sharing that’s killing the music industry, albeit there’s a lot here they can use to argue there’s a problem and that companies like Google need to intervene. As for what might be killing the music industry… oh… we have a few ideas.

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