Study: iTunes More Popular than P2P

A survey conducted by research firm NPD Group suggests that Apple's iTunes may be more popular than some leading peer-to-peer file sharing networks. According to the survey, iTunes is now neck-and-neck with LimeWire, while beating out other services such as Kazaa and iMesh.

The survey also found that those who use legal music services tend to be over 30 years of age. They are much less likely to download music illegally off of a P2P service than younger users. Four in ten households with Internet access downloaded a song legally during the month of March 2005," NPD said.

"Digital download stores appear to have created a compelling and economically viable alternative to illegal file sharing," Russ Crupnick, president of the NPD Group’s Music and Movies division, said in a statement.

Crupnick said the proof of this was the fact that Napster and the RealPlayer store also joined iTunes in the top ten most used music services - showing that consumers may be cooling to P2P.

According to the survey, iTunes and LimeWire were tied for second behind WinMX, which is used by 2.1 million households according to NPD. The rest of the top 10 were Kazaa, followed by BearShare, Ares Galaxy, Napster, Morpheus, Real Player Store, and iMesh.

Crupnick also said that the reason why legal file sharing services may be doing better is that people have less time to spend looking for a particular song on a P2P service rather than just buying it from a music store. With the libraries of services such as iTunes and Napster growing daily, it becomes less necessary for users to turn to P2P to find a particular song.

However, NPD said its survey was conducted by collecting data from only 40,000 online panelists. And consumers have shown hesitation in admitting to downloading music illegally with the RIAA frequently suing alleged file swappers.

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