Consumer Focus sees the growth of the legal online music market as the best way to tackle online copyright infringement, but new research from the consumer champion shows how the music industry is failing to promote the many legal alternatives.
The research released today shows that four in ten people are unable to name a single online music service at all – despite there being over 20 services on the market. Nearly nine in ten GB consumers (85%) who are aware of online music services, have only heard of two established brands – iTunes and Amazon.
The findings show how most consumers do not know where they can buy music online – a problem which is contributing to the current high levels of online copyright infringement. Before dealing with copyright infringement by prosecuting people – the approach being taken in the Digital Economy Bill – Consumer Focus thinks that it is only fair for the music industry to do more to promote legal services. This approach will also see industry gain through more sales without the need for prosecutions, whose costs end up being met by all consumers.
Jill Johnstone, International Director, Consumer Focus, said: “The music industry is shooting itself in the foot by not promoting legal online music services. If file sharing is causing the damage the music industry claims, why aren’t they putting more effort in to promoting the legal alternatives?
“Before we go down the enforcement road it is only fair to ask the music industry to do more to make people aware of the legal options.”
The findings come in a week when the last significant amendments will be made to the Digital Economy Bill in the House of Lords. A stated aim of the Bill is to facilitate the migration of those who infringe copyright online towards legal services – albeit by penalising those who infringe copyright – and Consumer Focus thinks that more needs done to help people choose the legal music alternatives.
To further encourage the growth of legal online music services Consumer Focus is also calling for reform of UK’s copyright licensing system to make it easier for online music services to offer copyrighted works to consumers legally. Reform would encourage the growth of more legal alternatives such as streaming, “all you can eat”, micropayment, advertisement or subscription based models.
The face to face omnibus survey was carried out by BMRB Omnibus Surveys from Thursday 18th – Wednesday 24th amongst 1995 adults aged 15+. The findings are representative of the GB population.
The length of time a music service has been online does not translate into high consumer awareness. 7Digital was one of the first legal online music services but is only named by 1 per cent of consumers. Established streaming services such as Spotify and last.fm score low with only 2 per cent and 1 per cent of consumers naming them respectively.
Consumer Focus does not condone online copyright infringement, but views it as the inevitable consequence of the music industry’s failure to provide and promote legal music services.