Consumers don't think illegal downloads harm the music industry, new research reveals.
Three quarters of UK consumers understand what represents illegal music downloading, but half are not convinced it is damaging enough to the music industry to stop them.
But the music industry could use peer to peer networks (P2P), where tracks are often shared illegally, to broaden listeners interest and actually increase sales.
According to a survey of 1,000 people, consumers are not afraid of being penalised for illegally downloading music. Only 6% fear being find, a mere 2% are worried that ISP will monitor them and 3% that their ISP will cut them off.
One in 10 respondents say they rarely buy music now that they can get it for free while another one in 10 say they do it because they want to try music before they buy it.
The survey was hosted by Tiscali was supported by companies such as music website Drowned in Sound (DiS).
Many illegal downloaders are doing it to supplement the music they buy. A total of 60% of Tiscali respondents and 62% of DiS users said they only downloaded free because of a limited budget or to supplement their spend on their favourite music.
Neal McCleave, managing director of media services at Tiscali said there is clearly a distinct trend for people topping up their paid music collection through free downloads. "Only a hard core of about 15% said that they wouldn't stop and they downloaded illegally because they didn't want to pay."
"This doesn't have to be all negative news for the music industry: in fact, if people are not able to access tracks for free, it may well prevent them from discovering new music in the future."
"The dam is already broken and they could instead look at ways of turning this 'torrent' in their favour."