Downloading  vs Purchase: Music Industry vs Consumers

The music industry argues that unauthorised downloading of music is detrimentally affecting the industry as well as being a breach of copyright and needs to be stopped. The industry has taken a range of actions to stamp out unauthorised music downloading, including prosecution of peer to peer software users for breach of copyright and action against peer to peer software suppliers for contributory copyright infringement.  This line of reasoning has been questioned by industry commentators and because of  significant revenues from legal music downloads in the United States and Europe. In this paper we draw on a qualitative study of music consumers in Australia to show there is not a clear dichotomy between downloading and purchase. It is more of a continuum with downloading and few purchases at one end and no downloading and only purchases at the other. Most often downloading is a way of
exploring new music, which leads to purchase. From the users’ perspective the activity of downloading is transformed to the activity of accessing and exploring music. DRM systems and the industry could more fruitfully focus on satisfying this basic aspect of the listening experience in order to work together with their customers.