A newly released survey of 1,000 music fans has found that a third fewer are downloading music illegally compared to a year ago.
Some 26 per cent of 14- to 18-year olds admitted file sharing at least once a month in a January 2009 survey, compared to 42 per cent in December 2007. Around 65 per cent favoured streaming online services like YouTube and Spotify.
The research, carried out by The Leading Question in conjunction with digital music experts Music Ally, suggests that the threat from digital piracy, long-lamented by the music and commercial software industries, is changing radically.
Tim Walker, chief executive of The Leading Question, maintained that the best way to beat piracy is to create new licensed services.
"That could be an unlimited streaming service like Spotify, or a service like the one recently announced by Virgin which aims to offer unlimited MP3 downloads as well as unlimited streams," he said.
Meanwhile, popular Twitter user Stephen Fry attacked the anti-file-sharing lobby for attempting to criminalise the casual file-sharing user as he addressed an audience before the iTunes festival at London's Roundhouse last night.
In a withering attack on the music industry in particular, Fry said that the legal action against The Pirate Bay had been unjust. Instead he advocated "fair" priced downloads and copyright reform.
In separate news, 150 young Swiss citizens have formed a Pirate Party, similar to the political movement in Sweden which has already won a seat in the European Parliament.
The Swiss Pirate Party's first meeting yesterday called for copyright reform, the preservation of internet freedom, shorter copyright periods and non-commercial file-sharing.
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