Tuesday, September 19, 2006

iTunes buyers vote with their wallets

The BBC is reporting that on average only 5% of the tracks on the average iPod have been bought from iTunes, with even fewer coming from other music sites. The majority are downloaded from file sharing sites or ripped from CDs.

The report cautions not to artificially divide music listeners into "pirates" and "buyers", and points out that:

[...] the only salient characteristic shared by all owners of portable music players was that they were more likely to buy more music - especially CDs.

"Digital music purchasing has not yet fundamentally changed the way in which digital music customers buy music," read the report.

This tells me that free as in beer (free of charge) is far less important to music listeners than free as in speech (free of restrictions). People are willing to pay for their music, but they aren't willing to accept lousy digital restrictions or artificial file formats that nobody but the music industry wants.

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