Legal music downloads treble

Downloading music legally is booming, with Telstra recording triple the number of paying customers on its BigpondMusic Web site in the past year.

Individual customer transactions are also up 61 per cent, said Telstra Bigpond spokesperson Craig Middleton.

"We believe this boost in transactions illustrates the larger breadth of catalogue, a more usable Web site and increased customer ease with legally downloading music," he said.

Middleton said the crackdown on illegal peer-to-peer music sharing was not the whole reason for the rush to legal music downloads, but it was a definite contributing factor.

"P-to-P and piracy emerged from a lack of availability, or even visibility, of legal means of getting music online," he said.

Reflecting the increased demand for digital music, Take 40 Australia announced this week that it would use BigpondMusic download figures, in addition to airplay stats and other CD retailer sales figures, to determine its list of top 40 songs each week.

BigPond music has over 400,000 tracks - all available at 99 cents each. Prices will rise from September though: tracks will cost $1.49 each for BigPond members and $1.89 for everybody else.

Other local online music portals include Destra, which has announced a 300 per cent annual growth of its mp3.com.au site, ninemsn, mulemusic and olympusmusic.

Destra offers tracks from 99 cents each and has access to 500,000 songs. Ninemsn charges from $1.49 to $1.89 per track and has access to over 300,000 songs. Mulemusic and Olympus Music also both charge between $1.49 and $1.89.

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