According to the survey that was produced by Berlecon Research for INDICARE, 69 percent of European Internet users listen to digital music on their computer, 40 percent use a MP3 player. Digital music files are, however, not primarily downloaded from the Internet. By far the most important source for digital music are ripped CDs that consumers either purchased themselves or borrowed from family members and friends.

Already one third of digital music users have shopped in online music stores. Their experiences, however, were not always good ones. The majority of music store customers is not well informed about usage restrictions and the application of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. “This lack of knowledge often results in problems when consumers want to use their purchased music files”, says Nicole Dufft, senior analyst at Berlecon Research.
“Consumers expect that they can burn, share, and transfer their digital music files between different devices. They are confused and annoyed when technical restrictions keep them from doing so.” Berlecon, therefore, recommends online and mobile music stores to significantly improve their information policy. “This is not only necessary for the sake of informed consumers but also for the sake of satisfied customers.”

The survey results confirm that music on the Internet is very well suited for marketing activities by musicians and their labels: 64 percent of the digital music users who have discovered a new artist on the Internet have subsequently bought a CD by this artist, 16 percent have bought more digital music. This should be reason enough for the music industry to make it easy for consumers to discover new music on the Internet, e.g. by supporting sharing and recommendation features. The report also reveals that these efforts should not only center around young user groups but should particularly target older Internet users. Nicole Dufft: “We found that particularly those older than 40 have spent money on digital music and CDs after having discovered a new artist.”

The representative survey was conducted in February 2005 among 4852 Internet users in Germany, UK, Spain, France, Hungary, The Netherlands, and Sweden. The survey is part of the INDICARE project, which aims at raising the awareness about consumer and user issues of DRM solutions in Europe.

The survey results are available for free download at www.indicare.org/survey.