Though at the heart of a furore over the future of digital-music publishing, a new report suggests that those who share music files illegally over the net in fact spend more on music than law-abiding music fans.
File-sharers are said to spend £77 a year on music compared to £44 spent by those who do not use P2P download sites.
Analyst Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research says: “The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music. They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism.”
The figures suggest that file-sharers “try-before-they-buy”, and are happy to support bands and artists whose downloaded music they enjoy.
These figures will not be music to the ears of Lord Mandelson, who is looking to introduce a “three-strikes-and-out” policy for those caught “destroying the music industry” by distributing files illegally.