Music Isn't so Stolen After All...

Written by Brett Thomas

July 5, 2006 | 15:46

Tags: #cds #content #ipod #mp3 #music #pirate #pirated #player #stolen

Companies: #riaa

We all know how the RIAA has turned into a one-trick pony of sorts, working to spin and distort everything into lost profits and evil pirates.

Let's see the RIAA spin this one: A new study released by Ipsos Insight - a rather large marketing firm - has found that roughly 70% of music on portable players is legally owned by the individual.

Of course, this flies in the face of people like Steve Ballmer, who went so far as to say "The most common music format on iPods is 'stolen'."

Ipsos studied over 1,100 people and their MP3 players to determine the legality of the music, which produced interesting discoveries:
  • One in every five Americans age 12 and over own an MP3 player of some sort;
  • 44% of music was ripped from CDs that the individual physically owned;
  • 25% was legally purchased online from a 'download-to-own' type store like iTunes;
  • 19% was genuinely pirated; and
  • 6% included CDs ripped while borrowed from friends or relatives.
On top of that, online sales of legal downloaded music tripled during 2005, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. This accounted for over 6% of all music purchased worldwide. And don't just think that's the teenage crowd - one in ten adults aged 35-54 now own MP3 players and use them regularly. Of course, one has to wonder about the future legality of that 44% ripped from CD, if the RIAA had its way.

An interesting secondary discovery of the study spoke a lot about portable video, at least on a music player. Only (roughly) one in three people aged 12-24 even acknowledged any desire for video on their MP3 player, a figure that worsened to one in six when you stepped up an age bracket. However, these things tend to change as the market matures; and as manufacturers sell more and more products with the inescapable functionality, it might still gain more acceptance.

So, some interesting info...the whole study is worth a read, if you have the time. And when you're ready to produce your own market opinion on the matter, hop into our forums.
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