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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Music swapping on the net rising
CD in front of Napster website
As broadband takes off, so does music swapping
The number of users taking advantage of illegal file-sharing on the net is on the rise, according to new figures from analyst firm Jupiter Media.

Music accounts for the lion's share of file swapping and analysts warn that unless the industry offers real alternatives soon, the legitimate digital music industry will be stillborn.

As high-speed broadband net access is takes off across Europe, so is the amount of music swapping, according to the Jupiter European Online survey.

Nearly 40% of surfers use their broadband connection for sharing music on the net.


This compares to just 18% for surfers with a dial-up internet connection.

Online music
39% of broadband users swap music
18% of users with dial-up use file-sharing services
44% of net users would not pay for music
Perhaps even more worrying for the music industry is that 44% of net users admit that they do not want to pay for online music in future.

"The digital music industry in Europe is in danger of being stillborn," said Jupiter Media analyst Mark Mulligan.

Despite initiatives such as Digital Download Day, the majority of content from the major music labels remains offline.

Such tokenism towards the phenomenon of digital music will not wash with users said Mr Mulligan.

Stopping the music

File-sharing is very good at reinventing itself

Mark Mulligan, Jupiter Media
"Legitimate file-sharing so far has just been about setting the tone and finding out what consumers want. There needs to be concerted action from record labels against peer-to-peer or strong enough alternatives," he said.

Even if the record industry threw itself wholeheartedly into digital music, it will have a job to stop the post-Napster file-sharing services he said.

"It isn't going to kill it off. File-sharing is very good at reinventing itself," said Mr Mulligan.

However it is not all bad news for the music industry.

According to the survey, double the number of people who had used illegal file-sharing sites would be prepared to pay for music compared to those that had never used such services.

This might be down to the fact that users are increasingly becoming irritated by the number of advertisements and the file quality available with such services, said Jupiter Media analyst Dan Stevenson.

He believes that peer-to-peer networks will decline and legitimate services will grow.

Swapping porn?

Recently European internet service provider Tiscali signed a deal with popular file-swapping service Kazaa.

The decision has been questioned in the industry because it ties the internet service provider to a company which could face legal action from the record industry.

Mr Stevenson does not think this is the way forward and suggested that internet providers might want to avoid music altogether.

"Using peer-to-peer for adult content or games might be better revenue drivers," he said.

See also:

04 Oct 02 | Business
03 Oct 02 | Entertainment
08 Oct 02 | Entertainment
23 Sep 02 | Technology
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