File Swappers Go Beyond Downloading
File swappers are developing new and innovative ways to trade songs and videos now that Napster has gone legit, Apple, Yahoo, and MSN are getting into the paid per download game, and record industry lawsuits are targeting users of peer to peer file sharing devices. According to a Pew survey of 1421 Internet users, legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is starting a shift from P2P file swapping to other online forms of file sharing.
Informal file-sharing networks are on the rise with only 19 percent still using direct music and video downloads. MP3 players, e-mail, and instant messaging products have become popular mediums for transferring files between friends and family. How can the RIAA track the sharing of MP3 and music files from one physical MP3 player to another?
27 percent of users download music or video files via Internet sources while 48 percent of all those who downloaded said they use sources other than P-to-P networks or paid music download services (iTunes, MusicMatch) – quite a hefty percent. Around 19% of those polled (which equates to about 7 million individuals according to Slyck.com) have downloaded files from someone else’s iPod or MP3 player. In addition, downloading music or video files via email or instant messaging has also proven popular as about 28% (or 10 million individuals) state they have acquired files by this method. Pew Internet points out there is some overlay in these statistics, as 9% of those surveyed use both methods to acquisition files.
What does this mean for Napster, Sony, Yahoo, Apple, MSN and the other paid file downloading giants? Slyck.com’s Thomas Mennecke states that even though the alternative forms of file swapping may be a large percent, file downloading is more popular than ever before: Whether from iTunes, email, P2P, etc, the total number of individuals that have downloaded music continues to inch upwards. In 2004 18% stated they have downloaded music, compared to 22% in 2005. This number remains well short of the peak level of 32% reported in October of 2002.