Napster Users Just Want More Music, Not Necessarily for Free

Survey Shows That Pure Love for Music, More Than Thrift, is Driving MP3 Downloading Phenomenon.

Are Napster music downloaders a bunch of cheapskate anarchists bent on destroying a viable ownership and distribution structure that allows musicians to profit from their work? Not according to a recent Angus Reid Group poll conducted recently among 1,000 American adults.

The poll indicates that Napster participants are, for the most part, merely embracing a new technology that allows them to further indulge their love of music, a technology that the majority of them would be willing to pay a fee for, in fact. Edward Morawski, a Vice President at the Angus Reid Group in New York, notes: "By attacking Napster, the recording industry may be alienating some of their best customers--music downloaders--who say they are spending the same, or even more, on CDs and tapes than they used to before Napster was launched." The study shows that there is a strong correlation between heavy spending on offline music (CDs and tapes) and active participation in downloading copyrighted music via MP3 files.

Moreover, those who download music for free right now are far more willing than those who don't to pay a fee for access to MP3 files. Says Morawski: "Contrary to popular belief, our research seems to indicate that advocates of music downloading are less interested in getting a free ride than they are in gaining access to more and different kinds of music that they wouldn't otherwise be able to hear."

Napster Awareness and Incidence of Use

  • Seventy-five percent of American adults are aware of Recording Industry Association of America's lawsuit against Napster.
  • Ten percent of American adults have downloaded music off the Internet in the past two months, and these downloaders tend to be younger Americans (18-34).
  • Six percent of Americans have used Napster in the past two months.

To Download or not to Download?

  • Most American adults who disapprove of Napster and online music downloads are over the age of 35.
  • Roughly half (54%) of those who are aware of the Napster court case think that Napster should be forced to stop enabling the copying and swapping of MP3 files between computer users.
  • The same percentage (54%) of American adults think that downloading copyrighted music for free is morally wrong and should be made illegal.

The Cents of the Issue

  • Roughly half (52%) of music downloaders (those who have downloaded MP3 files off the Internet for free in the past two months) say they would be willing to pay a small fee (such as 50 cents per song).
  • Music downloaders spend far more money on offline music (CDs and tapes) than those who don't: music downloaders are roughly twice as likely to spend $100 or more a year on CDs and/or tapes than are those who don't download.
  • Moreover, 64% of music downloaders say that music downloading has had no effect on their purchases of CDs and tapes, and another 22% say that their downloading activities actually fuel greater offline music spending (compared to 12% who say that downloading reduces their offline music spending).

Methodology These results were collected by Angus Reid EXPRESS, a nationally representative survey conducted every weekend amongst 1,000 Americans. The margin of error for the total sample of 1000 Americans is +/- 3%. Results based on smaller subgroups have a larger potential for sampling error. For example, our "downloader" subgroup is n = 98 which has a margin of error of +/- 10%. The research for this release was conducted April 29-30, 2000.

About Angus Reid The Angus Reid Group is one of North America's premier market research and public opinion polling firms. The company also provides international clients with a regularly scheduled quarterly global polling program wherein upwards of 30 countries over a two-month timeframe are sampled for opinions on private sector and public matters. The Angus Reid Group also publishes, on a quarterly basis, the World Monitor, a digest of world public opinion trends and insights gleaned from its world polling activities.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Ed Morawski Angus Reid Group New York (212) 265-3200

To view charts, please download PDF's at top of page.

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