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Illegal downloads drive online music sales

Music sales
Illegal downloads actually drive people to spend more at sites like this

After years of bluster and misguided policy from government and the music industry alike, a change in the attitude to file-sharing may be on the horizon thanks to a new survey that shows illegal downloaders actually spend more on music then their straight-as-a-die counterparts.

The Demos poll of 1,000 people between 16 and 50 found that illegal downloaders on average spend £77 a year on music, whereas the rest fork out just £44.

Discovery mechanism

Analyst Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research took the opportunity to highlight a truth policy makers seem unable or unwilling to grasp: "The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music. They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism."

Whether or not the Demos findings will have any impact on Peter Mandelson's plans to introduce a US style 'three strikes and you're out' approach to discouraging illegal downloading remains to be seen.