April 2, 2002, 12:00 AM

A new measure of the extent of music downloading

More than 40% of home Internet users in the U.S. have downloaded MP3 files onto their home computers. They are storing an average of 305 music files each, says Parks Associates.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


The debate continues over whether downloading of music from the Internet harms or helps music sales. Whichever side one favors, everyone knows that music downloading is pervasive, especially among young people. Now Dallas-based Parks Associates, a Dallas-based research group, has determined just how pervasive it is.

Parks Associates’ E-Home 2001 study, just out, reports that more than 40% of home Internet users in the U.S. have downloaded MP3 files onto their home computers, and they are storing an average of 305 music files each.

In a survey of 711 consumers in U.S. households with Internet access, Parks Associates found that 81% of respondents aged 18-24 have downloaded MP3 files onto home computers, storing on average 350 clips, songs, and files. Although a lower percentage of consumers aged 25-34--62%--has downloaded MP3 files onto home computers, they are storing on average twice as many files--721. Even older Internet users are downloading music files--24% of 55- to 64-years-olds and 13% of those over 65. The average among number of files among the 55- to 64-years-olds is 124; it’s 72 in the 65+ group.

"Prior to this study, we assumed that a fair number of home Internet users of all ages were taking advantage of music-swapping services and CD-ripping software," said Kurt Scherf, vice president of research for Parks Associates. "What we didn`t realize was the staggering amount of music files stored on home computers. The home computer - at least in certain segments - is quickly evolving into an important hub for entertainment content inside the home."



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