If music industry executives were any more out of date they probably could've fathered themselves...
Dispelling yet another industry myth this week is the (in my opinion not remotely startling) revelation that users who download music illegally over the Internet actually spend more money buying it than anyone else.
According to the Independent, the poll conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of think-tank Demos discovered an average of £77 per year is spent on music by confirmed illegal downloaders. This compares to just £33 - well under half - by those who claim to have never engaged in illegal downloads. The poll surveyed 1,000 16 to 50 year olds - the music industry's key demographic - and discovered just one in 10 admitted to downloading music illegally.
"The latest approach from the Government will not help prop up an ailing music industry," said think-tank's Peter Bradwell in reference to government plans to disconnect illegal file sharers. "Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed, and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access."
Naturally enough the music industry used this opportunity to once again show how completely out of touch it is. It suggests that illegal music downloaders are the ones most interested in music and therefore were always going to spend more than casual listeners. This is a moot point since all it proves is the industry has disillusioned its most important audience.
That said, it doesn't matter what the music industry or the government thinks. Users will vote by their actions - right or wrong - and until flat rate, unlimited, DRM-free music (and potentially TV and film) with zero day availability comes in at a price they find wholly acceptable then the majority of file sharers will never be deterred.
iTunes was a start. Amazon MP3 and 7Digital an evolution, the likes of Napster and Spotify an improvement again, but we still remain a long way off what is required. Simple fact. Black and white.