Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Digital music: Industry answers

Some of the top executives in the music industry have answered your questions about digital music.

The BBC News website asked for your queries and gripes about the way new technology is being used - and the eight sharpest, most frequent and most important questions were put to the virtual panel.

Click on each question to read the answers.

Most people in my age group (15) still download all of their music illegally. What action would you take to try to persuade this particular group to buy music? Cole Beler, Bruton, England

  • John Kennedy, IFPI:

    To me, if you steal music you can't be a real music fan.

    Think of it this way - apart from potentially landing you a hefty fine, illegal downloading hurts all those whose job it is to create, develop and record music, and who depend on it for their livelihood. How would you feel if you were in a band struggling to break through and no-one paid for your first album? How would you feel when no-one was able to invest in your second album? And as a music fan, how do you think that'll impact on the variety of new, fresh music that you get to listen to?

    The music industry has been working with different organisations to produce guides and online materials to explain to young people why illegal downloading is wrong - see, and

  • Peter Jamieson, BPI:

    Music doesn't come for free, and there's no reason why the artist who's spent hours toiling in the studio, or the record label that's invested millions in the music, shouldn't be paid for their efforts. File-sharing might not feel like walking out of a shop with a CD under your coat, but it's the digital equivalent of shoplifting. The fact is that unauthorised file-sharing is illegal. If you do it, you run the risk of legal action.

  • Steve Knott, HMV:

    Everyone knows about Apple iTunes and, to a lesser extent, Napster, Wippit etc. But last year, both HMV and Virgin launched their own digital services, including the added-option benefit of 'subscription' elements - so the choice is much greater and expanding all the time. The market for digital music is becoming increasingly more competitive as demand grows, so it's likely downloaders can expect greater range, including exclusive content, keen pricing and other incentives. In such a context, there are very few reasons why people should not purchase downloads from legal sites.

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