(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Illegal music downloading is continuing to grow according to research consultancy XTN Data. In late March they surveyed 1,000 UK music fans and found that 28% admitted to downloading music without paying. XTN Data reported 25% were downloading illegally in September last year.
The rise comes after last year's court action by the UK music industry saw two file sharers paying thousands in damages. However XTN Data found that
legal action was the least effective option in stopping file sharing with only
12% saying that legal action would tempt them to a legitimate alternative. Music buyers said cheaper pricing and easier to use services were most likely
to draw them to mainstream commercial sites.
"Clunky software, difficulty in finding tracks and
over-zealous protection limiting where customers can play music they've
bought are continuing to fuel file sharing," said Greig Harper, founder of XTN Data.. "The industry is ignoring simple
solutions which could see file sharers head to a legitimate service."
iTunes remained the most popular commercial download service with 44%
market share while quasi-legal site AllOfMP3.com took second place seeing 14%
of the market. Napster followed in third place. AllOfMP3.com uses loopholes
in Russian law to offer albums from a pound compared to iTunes eighty pence
"This is the first time we've monitored
AllOfMP3.com and we were surprised when it took second place," said Harper, "butt it offers
cheap downloads, is easy to use and has no restrictions on where people can
play the tracks. This is what music fans are asking for so perhaps AllOfMP3's
popularity isn't that surprising." Early last year the international music
body IFPI tried but failed to take action against the Moscow based site.
The report also found that sales of the iPod held steady over the
Christmas period as digital music players overtook portable CD players.
Apple's iPod accounts for nearly half the digital music player market. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner