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Music Fans Still Prefer Buying Cds Over Downloads

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The majority of music fans are still happy buying CDs rather than downloading albums or tracks, according to new research.


Out of 1,000 people polled, The Music Ally Speakerbox survey found that 73 per cent were still happy purchasing CDs rather than downloading and 66 per cent of 14 to 18 year olds prefer CDs.


Just over half, (59 per cent) of all music fans still listen to CDs every day and the research showed that CD burning is top of all music sharing activities. Twenty-three per cent of those surveyed still share music in this way, while 18 per cent use bluetoothing and 17 per cent digitally file share single tracks and 13 per cent digitally share albums.


According to the British Phonographic Industry’s (BPI) most recent data, CD sales accounted for approximately 86 per cent of total revenue, compared to 14 per cent produced by digital downloads, for the 12 months up to March 2009.


The two combined, physical and digital unit sales, generated £1.3 billion of retail revenue in the UK during 2008. Roughly broken out, digital sales accounted for £172 million of this amount and CD sales for £1.1 billion, according to BPI records.


“Digital is still the future but rumours of the death of the CD are premature. The continued popularity of the CD should be looked upon as an opportunity. We believe that labels and online stores could and should be doing more to build on music fans’ familiarity with CDs to provide them with additional digital content and to use the CD as a bridge into the digital world.”


“Music fans have spoken and digital is evidently not the clear cut replacement to the physical CD,” said Tim Walker, chief executive of The Leading Question, the research division of music consultancy Music Ally responsible for carrying out the survey.


The research also shows that even the most digitally advanced music fans continue to buy CDs, with little evidence to show that digital music consumption is simply replacing physical consumption.


Those paying for a digital music subscription service, such as Napster or Musicstation) spend more on CDs each months than most music fans – £16.87 per month compared to £11.37.


Music streamers are too spending more on CDs and downloads than most music fans.


“While we fully expect that digital will eventually replace most physical consumption, this is not a clear cut replacement cycle like the change from vinyl to CD. It’s particularly encouraging that those who are listening to streamed music on their computers are actually buying more music on both CDs and downloads than the average music fan. This suggests that digital can and is being used as a way of sampling new music which users may then go on to purchase,” added Music Ally chief executive Paul Brindley.


The research ties in with recent statistics, discovered by the same company, showing that the music piracy levels of teenagers has dropped significantly, with increasing numbers being more likely to stream music or legally purchase it.



By Emma Barnett, Technology and Digital Media Correspondent



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