RealTime IT News

Survey: Napster Actually Fuels Pay Industry

Three-quarters (75 percent) of all Napster users indicate their use of the controversial sharing service has 'widened their musical horizons, encouraging them to purchase music from different artists or from different categories of music,' according to a survey conducted yesterday by InsightExpress, an online research service.

"The multi-month legal battle culminating in Wednesday's court decision is all about economics and maintaining the status quo," said Lee Smith, executive vice president of InsightExpress.

"While most people focus upon the erosive financial influence of digitized music and emerging distribution channels such as Napster, few industry participants have embraced the enormous marketing power of Napster to drive the actual sale of music. Napster encourages people to try or sample new music--the first step in the purchasing process," says Smith.

With nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of all online individuals aware of Napster (up from 52 percent one month ago), few say they believe Napster itself (32 percent) or those using Napster (34 percent) are guilty of copyright infringement. Among users, even fewer say they believe Napster (9 percent) or those using Napster (20 percent) are guilty of copyright infringement.

"Many respondents compare Napster to the radio or sharing a CD with a friend," says Smith. In the words of one Napster user, "We used the downloads to decide whether or not we wanted to purchase the CD or not, not to steal them."

"Clearly, most survey participants are interested in compensating the artists for their work," says Smith.

"While it would be nice to enjoy free music, musical artists have a right to protection of their work like any other artist. No one would think about swapping around a Picasso," one respondent stated.

"The opportunity to leverage Napster to drive revenue for the music industry may have passed with yesterday's ruling. This baton may be passed to other more grass-roots oriented music sharing services such as Gnutella " says Smith.