Is a teenager with an iPod a criminal?

According to the largest academic study undertaken in the UK on young people’s music ownership the average teenagers iPod or digital music player contains over 800 illegally copied songs (TimesOnline).

illustration of iPod nano and handcuffsWe all know that illegal copying and downloading of music is widespread, so i’m sure that for some of us this is no surprise at all. The fact that industry officials say they are surprised at these numbers just show that they are not in sync with their main market, which is perhaps one of the reasons why illegal copying is such a widespread activity.

The study undertaken at the University of Hertfordshire showed that the average digital music player carries 1,770 songs, of which on average 842 where illegal copies. 96% of 18-24 year olds have undertaken some form or another of illegal copying of music, be it to rip a cd, copy music from friends, or download it from online services.

The music industry should get some learnings from this, with the biggest one being that they need to change and adapt their own business models to what is happening in the technological world, and not to mention to consumer behaviour. I can’t see the music industry starting to prosecute 96% of young people for having what they deem as ‘illegal’ music. There is a great opportunity here for the forward thinking music label/artists that realises that the long term value of adapting themselves to their consumer base is the only way forward.



Filed in: Apple iPod, Lead Story, Music and itunes

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