Illicit file-sharers each spend ?77 on music annually, ?33 more than legitimate consumers

Pirates spend more on content, study claims

In what will surely encourage the self-validating conscience of illegal file-sharers, new research has shown that people who pirate digital content spend more on it than those who don’t.

A survey commissioned by think tank Demos found that broadband users who never pirate material each spend an average of £44 per year on music. Those who pirate music, by comparison, spend an average of £77.

The study suggests that those who illicitly download digital content have a greater thirst for it, and are therefore more inclined to pay for it.

Of the 1008 16-50 year-olds surveyed, nearly 10 per cent admitted to pirating music, while eight in ten said they purchase CDs, vinyl and MP3s.

An issue of convenience was apparent in the findings, with the music streaming service Spotify rating highly among the 9 per cent of respondents who claimed to use it. 

The research focused on consumer music consumption, though the parallels to movie and game expenditure are clear. Many within the game industry have in the past called to ramp up the convenience in buying games as a way to fight piracy.

However, this idea has been the subject of recent debate with the surprisingly high levels of piracy affecting Apple’s App Store – an online shop that makes purchasing content as simple as two button presses.

Nevertheless, Demos researcher Peter Bradwell said that politicians and rights holders “need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access to music.”

The report follows a YouGov poll, which found that 31 per cent of UK citizens would be much less likely to vote for a party that supports internet disconnection as a punishment for file sharing.

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