I came across an interesting release today about teens and music consumption habits. Based on a study of 416 teens, Ipsos is concluding that “76% of Canadian teens have used a fee-based website” to download music – up from 52% in 2009. This is relevant in a number of ways, yes, but it’s also generally great news for the music industry that keeps carping for more tariffs on music storage devices. Many have said, repeatedly, that if the legal mechanisms are easier, people will gladly pay.
And, I agree with that idea. I see much of infringement as a convenience issue. The music industry is just competing with better delivery methods (like Napster was). I have personally tried to steer my own pre-teen nieces towards legal means of gathering music. The teen, however, is an interesting demographic because of their lack of access to credit cards (a requirement for an iTunes account) and possibly large sway of their parents.
While the reasons stated in the quoted release are certainly sound, using torrent sites is not as tech savvy a task as the writer might think. Torrent’s are as pervasive and easy to use as Napster was in it’s heyday, and I feel teens are tech savvy than they ever were. In addition, there are are many sites that trade in cyberlocker links to file and album downloads. The easy size of a full mp3 album (usually under 100mb) is a perfect fit for most of today’s file hosting servers.
The reality is that today’s teen music fan is going to have more difficulty getting the music they want legally than teens did 20 years ago. If you want to use Apple’s product, you’ll be locked into that. If you get a cheap $20 MP3 player, you’ll struggle to find good ways to legally fill that up. Music stores are a dying breed, so I doubt any of today’s teens would go looking for CDs. All of this leads still to illegal downloads.
The dangers are illegal downloads all still the same, though. Possible viruses, threatening letters from ISPs, even the chance of litigation are all great reasons to avoid this kind of activity.