FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, April 21, 2006

More US Youth Downloaders Going Legit

The percent of US kids and teens who download music, games and other content illegally has fallen sharply in the past two years, according to a recent survey by Harris Interactive.

In the survey, only 32% of young people aged 8-18 surveyed in 2006 say they download music without paying for it, versus 53% in 2004. Similarly, the number of those who download movies, games and software illegally have also declined significantly.

Although some of this decline could be attributed to the greater availability of legal downloading sites such as iTunes, the survey found that the largest disincentive for illegal downloading was the risk of viruses and spyware. However, the threat of legal jeopardy, combined with awareness campaigns casting illegal downloading as unethical, appear to be having an effect. The survey found sharp increases in young people who say they don't download illegally because "it's just not right to do" (up 9% from 2004) and fear of "getting in trouble with my parents" (up 14%). In many households, Mom and Dad must have made it clear that they don't want to be on the receiving end of an RIAA lawsuit...

None of this, though, should be taken to mean that the recording and movie industries have succeeded in turning back the clock on downloading. Instead, all signs point to the Internet as becoming the primary vehicle for distributing entertainment media... and the entertainment industry seems to be accepting it. A sign of the times appeared last week when Apple Corps, which manages the Beatles' music catalog, announced that it is preparing to sell the Beatles' songs online. Besides being one of the major holdouts in the online music business, Apple Corps has, in the Beatles catalog, a virtual license to print money into perpetuity. Nearly four decades after the band played its last note -- and with only two surviving members -- the Beatles' music generated $1.1 billion in sales in 2005. That will only increase once that music is available for online purchase -- and may settle once and for all the debate of whether downloadable media is bad for business.

Source: eMarketer