Study reveals consumers deleting music files from PCs

Fearing recording industry reprisals, over a million households deleted music files off their PCs in August, a new report indicates.

New York-based researcher the NPD Group said this week that the 1.4 million households it tracked deleted their music files in August, compared to 606,000 in May. The file deletion frenzy reflects the success of the recording industry's latest fear campaign and related media attention, according to NPD.

However, the researcher said that a related consumer perceptions survey indicated that their overall recording industry opinion has suffered following its high-profile digital music piracy crackdown.

A survey fielded by NPD in September revealed that two-thirds of consumers who had recently shared music on peer-to-peer networks reported that they had a "much more" or "somewhat more" negative opinion of record companies in general after hearing about the litigation threats.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announcement in June that it was preparing thousands of lawsuits against individual music sharers may have rattled consumers' nerves, NPD speculated. Although the RIAA claimed it would only pursue serious infringers, 80 per cent of users who deleted music files in August had fewer than 50 files saved, while 10 per cent had more than 200 files, according to the researcher.

While the researcher said that the recording industry's success in reducing file-sharing has been impressive, it believes that record companies should engage in further education efforts about piracy's effects to avoid ostracising themselves from consumers.

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