Editorial by Zach Wendkos

According to a recent poll, people who illegally download music online are also more likely to purchase music online. The poll, which surveyed 1,000 16- to 50-year-olds with internet access, found that one in 10 people admit to downloading music illegally. The survey found that those who admit to illegally downloading music spent an average of about $125/year on music, which is about $75/year more than people who claimed they never download illegally.

Obviously most music industry buffs would disagree with the results of this survey and certainly there are are studies out there to prove everything from the health benefits of smoking to the existence of the Loch Ness monster, but it still raises an interesting question. Do people use illegal downloading to sample or try more music, thus enticing them to spend more money on music?

I believe that illegal downloading must be accepted in the new era of music business–in fact, I believe it should be embraced. The more ears on your music, the more dollars in your pocket. Whether it be from downloads on iTunes or MySpace, CDs in the stores, tickets to your shows, or other related items like apparel or concert DVDs, revenue will increase as exposure increases. It’s marketing 101. Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research would agree:

“The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music. They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism. We have a generation of young people who don’t have any concept of music as a paid-for commodity. You need to have it at a price point you won’t notice.”

Now there certainly need to be ramifications in the laws of music downloading and in the business models of music industry giants. This will take time, but “pirating” music is never going to end. In fact, it will only grow, and I believe that’s a good thing!

What do you think? And what type of music consumer are you? Let me know in the poll below:

Source: The Independent

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