Copy Culture study outlines US and German filesharing / streaming habits


The American Assembly at Columbia University has published a new study of filesharing habits and attitudes in the US and Germany.

‘Copy Culture in the US and Germany’ follows the same department’s US-focused ‘The Copy Culture Survey: Infringement and Enforcement in the US’ study in late 2011, with the new study “made possible by a research grant from Google” according to its authors.

The topline finding: “Nearly half of adults in the US and Germany participate in a broad, informal ‘copy culture’ characterised by the copying, sharing, and downloading of music, movies, TV shows, and other digital media. Among young adults, the number is 70%,” explains the report, which goes on to note that a lot of this sharing is happening offline between friends, and that “much of it is legal” in European countries including Germany.

The report, based on a survey of 1,000 Germans and 2,303 Americans, reiterates previous claims that copying and online filesharing are “mostly complementary to legal acquisition” of content.

But we’re as interested in the streaming music stats: 13% of Americans listen to most or all of their music on streaming services, with 7% paying for subscription services (in Germany those figures are 2% and 1% respectively). Among 18-29 year-old Americans, 29% listen to most or all of their music on streaming services, with 11% having a paid subscription.

Spotify and its streaming rivals will seize on the stats showing 48% of Americans and 56% of Germans who BOTH stream and copy-fileshare music saying they do less of the latter because of the emergence of legal music streaming services.

Interestingly, 16% of American P2P users pay for music subscription services, compared to 7% of the general population. Google’s funding of the study may draw fire from its sterner critics in the entertainment industry, but American Assembly’s report is worth poring over nonetheless.

Written by: Stuart Dredge