Paid music download advances on piracy


O Globo, 08/06/2005

LONDON. Sites for legal music download over the internet are gaining ground from those that allow users to exchange files (called peer-to-peer, or P2P) without paying copyrights. This is the conclusion of a survey released yesterday by the consultancy NPD Group Inc.

According to the study, Apple's iTunes tied for second place among the most popular sites for downloading music, with 1,7 million American households accessing the page in March. Did iTunes stay on the same level as LimeWire and just below WinMX, with 2,1 million? both P2P.

Napster? pioneer of music piracy and who ended up bought by a multinational? ranked seventh in the NPD ranking, and Real Player, ninth. The subscription plans of the two sites were not considered in the ranking, for which the user pays a fixed amount, regardless of the number of downloads.

? One of the questions in the music industry was when would paid download sites compete on an equal footing with P2P? said Russ Crupnick, president of the NPD's Film and Music division. ? Now we have the answer. ITunes is more popular than almost all P2P, and two other paid sites have also achieved a good level of demand.

The NPD survey also showed that age matters when choosing a site. While teenagers run for free P2P, older users prefer paid services, concerned about possible lawsuits. The average age of those who pay to download music is 33 years.

? The legal services offer some advantages: they don't have spy programs, spyware, and is it quick and easy to find what you want? said Isaac Josephson of the NPD. ? Older people with more resources are more likely to choose the convenient instead of the free.

About 4% of American families with internet access used some legal music download service in March, according to the NPD. The consultancy included only the United States in the survey.

The study was based on observation of behavior, not interviews.

? If you ask a 14-year-old boy if he used a P2P service, is he unlikely to be sincere? said Josephson.