January 28, 2010 / 8:06 AM / 8 years ago

Let there be music -- and let it be legal, poll shows

<p>Sony Corp unveils its Aiwa brand's portable MP3 music player UZ-PS128 in Tokyo in this January 14, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Music really makes the world go round, with most people listing it as their favorite pastime, and one that they’re willing to pay for to enjoy legally, according to a global survey.

The “Music Matters” survey of 8,000 adults in 13 countries, by market research firm Synovate, showed 63 percent ranked themselves as being passionate about music, with Brazilians at the top of the scale and Australians at the bottom.

Only 6 percent of people across the world say they “couldn’t care less” about music.

“Since the beginning of humankind, there has been a passion for music,” Steve Garton, global head of media research for Synovate, said in a statement.

“From the primitive beating of drums, to even before we are born when we’re already used to the steady beat of our mother’s heart, we are programed to have a passion for music.”

This love for music drove nearly four in 10 people to buy a music compact disc from a shop, compared to the 11 percent globally who confessed to buying pirated music CDs.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they had paid for music they had downloaded from the Internet, and 8 percent said they paid for music applications, or apps, on their phone.

Music streaming is also a big fan favorite, with one in five people globally, topped by Korea at 60 percent, streaming songs in the past month from legal music streaming services.

Robert Alleyne, research manager for Synovate in Britain, said that while illegal downloads and counterfeit CDs still plague the music industry, the stigma attached to these activities had largely succeeded in reducing piracy.

“For a long time downloading illegally was easier and faster than downloading legally but not anymore. And consumers have taken to these new legal services,” he said.

“I fully expect the number of people who are illegally downloading to decline over time. If it were not for the strides taken in 2009, I would have expected the 13 percent of Brits who admitted to file-sharing to be double, even triple that.”

Not only are consumers willing to pay for music, they’re also happy to spend cash on getting to know their favorite performers better through attending performances or gaining access to exclusive information or parties, the poll showed.

Americans are the most likely to pay extra for these “member-only” privileges while more than two-thirds of French say they’re willing to pay for access to artists’ other creative output such as poetry and artwork.

But, given an opportunity, most people would rather have music for free, even it means putting up with all those advertisements on music downloading sites.

Forty-four percent of people globally are happy to listen to ads if it lets them download free music while 41 percent are ok with it they can get access to free music streaming.

And almost one quarter of people globally would happily provide personal information in exchange for access to free downloads, topped by Britons (38 percent), Australian and Koreans (37 percent each).

For details, click www.synovate.com/insights/infact

Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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