Digital Music

Survey Shows Pirates Can Become Paying Fans

Pirate A new Interpret research report on the music consumption behaviors of "illegal" downloaders shows that while downloading can't be eradicated, there are steps that the industry can take to get downloaders to pay for music and even become assets to record labels and artists.

“Illegal downloaders have been a source of frustration for the music industry for over a decade, but they are willing to pay for music. Consumers downloading illegally want their music however they can get it, and making it available – at a cost – through alternate methods like Guitar Hero tracks, downloading to their gaming consoles or online video is the best way to mitigate their illegal behavior,” said Josh Bell, Executive Director at Interpret and lead analyst of the report.

Additional findings include:

  • 38% of the 64 million consumers who had downloaded a song or album in the previous three months had acquired a song through illegal means. 
  • Illegal downloaders are voracious music consumers who also pay to experience music in a number of ways, and they are buying music through their game consoles and playing music/singing games like Guitar Hero much more than their CD buying counterparts.
  • Social networking sites are underutilized sales tools, as illegal downloaders are 50% more likely than CD buyers to have listened to music on a social networking site.
  • While illegal downloaders also buy CDs – more than the average consumer, in fact – they are much more interested in individual songs. 

“When consumers can pay a dollar a song to download, it’s very difficult to get them to trade up and pay for an entire album.  The music industry should replicate its strategy for CD sales by offering extra content with an album download,” stated Bell.

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5 Comments

  1. “Social networking sites are underutilized sales tools.” This quote alone shows that they really don’t understand the nature of the beast. As the Cluetrain Manifesto explained, the internet did not arise for commerce. Social networks are not the place for transactions to take place. Social networks are NOT sales tools. God help us.

  2. “Consumers downloading illegally want their music however they can get it, and making it available – at a cost – through alternate methods like Guitar Hero tracks, downloading to their gaming consoles or online video is the best way to mitigate their illegal behavior”
    This reminds me of a parent scolding their child for stealing something, turning a blind eye to the behavior, and then becoming happy when they find out their kid isn’t stealing as much as previously thought.
    It’s still theft. Bottom line. There is no cause for rejoicing at the prospect of Rock Band sales. It’s a decent market I’d imagine, but it’s not gonna replace the money lost from the original theft.
    Just wait til these same downloaders find a way to get the Rock Band tracks for free.

  3. Social Networking sites are being used to sell a lot of product right now. It’s not a stretch at all to imagine them being used to sell music and any kind of art.
    People don’t buy CD’s to be able to hold them in their hand. They buy them because the music makes them feel good. It is the feelings that have value.
    Artists need 2 things to help them feel like carrying on ~ Money AND Popularity. Social Networking sites are already proving their worth with regards to both.
    God is helping us. Some people still don’t believe it. hehe

  4. As much as I agree it’s theft and has greatly changed the market as a result, it is not a negative thing, or at least doesn’t HAVE to be a negative thing that all the labels and many artists make it out to be. Technology is there… it will happen regardless. People are doing it and will do it. So instead of scolding, not only realize the positives but optimize from the potential monetary positives that can come.

  5. “38% of the 64 million consumers” –> I would be curious to know how they interrogated such a big panel !

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