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Title: Digital Music Usage and DRM - Results from an European Consumer Survey
Author: Nicole Dufft, Andreas Stiehler, Danny Vogeley and Thorsten Wichmann [Berlecon Research]

INDICARE project

Year: 2005


Subject/Type: Piracy
Focus: Music
Country/Territory: France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Objective: To gather data on the preferences and behaviour of European consumers with respect to digital music and on their awareness and acceptance of Digital Rights Management (DRM).
Sample: 4.852 Internet users in seven European countries
Methodology: Online survey

Main Findings

69% of European Internet users have used their computer for digital music (to play digital music files/to rip CDs). Those having experience with digital music obtain their digital music mostly from their own CDs (77%), CDs of family/friends (71%), and file sharing networks (51%). 29% report having used an online music store over the past 6 months. Four in five respondents burn digital music to CD, and 73% share music files with friends/family members.

“Known music by known artist” is the most common type of music downloaded (with 85% of downloaders having downloaded this type of music), followed by “unknown music by known artist” (44%), and “music by unknown artist” (32%). Of those having discovered new artists on the Internet, 68% have downloaded more music by the artist, 64% have bought a CD, 50% have followed the artist’s activity in the media, 31% have visited a concert, and 16% have bought digital music. This lets the authors conclude that the Internet is a good source for consumers to discover new music and new artists, and for musicians and labels to promote new works.

Knowledge and awareness of Digital Rights Management (DRM) are very low: 63% of digital music users have never heard of DRM, and an additional 23% have heard of it, but do not know what exactly DRM is. Just 3% report to “know quite well” what DRM is. Most online music stores customers are unable to say whether the digital music they bought is DRM-protected or not, and do not know about any usage restrictions applying to the music files they purchased. DRM is mostly perceived as a tool “helping the music industry to increase their profits” (62%) and “helping to compensate musicians” (54%). Just 38% like online music stores only working with DRM.

Consumers expect maximum flexibility with digital music: they want to be able to transfer music files between devices (84%) and to share them with friends and family (75%), and are willing to pay more for such flexible usage rights. 45% are afraid that DRM-protected files could be unusable in the future. Users generally perceive digital music stores to offer superior service compared to file sharing networks.

43% of digital music users care about copyright when downloading music; 14% do not exactly know that copyright is, and another 43% do not care much about copyright (and among frequent file sharers, 57% do not care about copyright). Insecurity about the lawful use of digital music is widespread: for example, 31% are unsure whether it is legal to download music from file sharing networks, and 30% do not know whether it is legal to offer purchased music on file sharing networks.

The study authors offer the following recommendations: a need for significant information efforts to ensure that consumers have a basic understanding of DRM, copyright and the legal foundations for the usage of digital music; online music stores should enhance their information policy about the application of DRM systems and/or usage restrictions; DRM systems must support device interoperability and sharing features if they are to be accepted by a majority of consumers; the music industry should make use of the Internet to make consumers aware of new music.

[Date Added: Jan 26, 2009 ]