Illegal downloads hit new high

Only a third of illegal music downloaders think they'll get caught - the UK then is a pirate haven for some

More and more of us are getting our music free from peer-to-peer sites on the internet, and are less worried about being caught doing it, says a survey published today.

The 2007 Digital Music Survey says that 43 per cent of us now download tracks illegally, while only 33 per cent are worried about being prosecuted.

The survey by Entertainment Media Research also shows legal download growth slowing. This can partly be attributed to pricing - 45 per cent of legal site users said tracks for back catalogue music was too expensive.

Mind you, 31 per cent also said they'd pay more for new stuff - playing right into the music industry's hands when it comes to iTunes Store negotiations. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has long fought against variable pricing, accusing companies of being greedy. It could, after all result, in a net increase in prices, as store visitors are more likely to want to download new music, rather than older material.

The survey also throws few crumbs of comfort the industry's way when it comes to downloading - legal or otherwise - compared to buying regular CDs. Some 24 per cent of downloaders said it would make them buy less; 22 per cent said it would make them buy more and 54 per cent said it wouldn't make any difference at all.

Anti-social networking?

Another highlight of the survey is the impact that social networks are having - and how record companies need to tread carefully. Entertainment Media Research said that 46 per cent of social networkers wished they could buy music more easily; and yet 45 per cent also thought that businesses have ruined social networks. Bebo users are the most likely to buy music they've seen online.

Funnily enough 41 per cent of social networkers also thought that social networks are full of idiots, and that there are too many social networks. Ho-hum.

Entertainment Media Research questioned 1,700 people across the UK.