There’s a new piece of research into music filesharing making waves, from Columbia University-affiliated American Assembly.

The finding that’s creating headlines is something we’ve seen before: “The biggest music pirates are also the biggest spenders on recorded music,” explains a blog post, which segments the results by age.

So, in the US, 48% of the average 18-29 year-old’s digital music collection was bought, 15% was ripped from CD, 16% copied from friends and family, and 21% downloaded for free. For 30-49 year-olds, the figures are 56% bought, 22% ripped, 10% copied and 12% downloaded.

Yet when you compare P2P users to non-P2P users, the former have on average 760 bought songs, versus 582 for the latter.

The report also notes that “copying from friends/family is comparable in scale and prevalence to downloading for free… The prevalence of private copying is consistent with our findings on attitudes, which show a high degree of acceptance, among young people, of sharing media with friends and family”. Something that’s much harder to police than online filesharing.

Files, files, files. What about streams? Buried towards the bottom of the Assembly’s blog post is this: “In the US, according to our survey, 29% of those under 30 listen to ‘most or all’ of their music via streaming services. 11% have paid subscriptions.” That’s as interesting as the filesharing data, in truth.

The research was funded by The International Development Research Center, The Ford Foundation, Google and The Open Society Foundations.

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