Canadian teens pay for music downloads

Here’s more proof that Canada is not a Pirate’s Haven after all.

A recent survey by market research firm Ipsos Reid Canada indicates that Canadian teens are increasingly choosing to pay for music downloads while fewer are grabbing music for free on the Internet.

The Ipsos Canadian Inter@active Reid Report shows that 76 per cent of teens aged 12 to 17 have used fee-based Web sites to download their music. This is a significant increase from the 52 per cent that paid for music downloads in 2009.

The survey also said that four in ten (40 per cent) used peer-to-peer service Web sites such as torrent sites in order to download music for free. This was a significant downturn from the 70 per cent who used such sites in 2009.

The rise in use of paid sites can be attributed to stiffer penalties and the increased hardship in getting around digital rights management mechanisms, according to Catherine Dawson, senior vice-president with Ipsos Reid in Vancouver.

“Legal takedowns of popular peer-to-peer sites in the past few years have made it increasingly complicated for all but the most tech savvy to download free music content, which may be the cause for this shift in behaviour,” she said.

“The use of torrent Web sites is not easily understood by many users and may be leading teens to paid download sources that are quick, simple and relatively affordable,” Dawson added.

When asked about their feelings towards downloading music through peer-to-peer services, one in five teens (21 per cent) said they feel guilty about it, while 35 per cent don’t.

The largest group (44 per cent) feel neutral on the matter.

This ambiguity is likely the result of uncertainty about the current laws around downloading copyrighted content in Canada, according to Ipsos.

In a related question, 52 per cent of teens are unsure how they feel about the current laws, while one third (34 per cent) believe the laws are fair. Only 14 per cent feel the laws are unfair.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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