A survey from London-based think-tank Demos has added weight to the position held by many that file sharers are the biggest music fans, revealing that those who admit downloading music illegally spend an average of £77 per year on music, compared to £44 for people who claim that they never download dishonestly.
The poll spoke to 1000, 16 to 50-year-olds with web access. One in ten admitted to downloading music illegally, though the real figure is suspected by many to be considerably higher. However, 61% of those downloaders said they would be put off downloading illegally if their connection was in jeopardy.
The government, led by Peter Mandelson, is trying very hard to push through plans to set up a "three-strikes" system that would disconnect file sharers from the Web. However, there's fierce opposition to the proposals from everyone from artists, to ISPs, to even MI5 and the police.
The report's authors say that the results of this survey suggest that Mandelson's plans could actually harm the music industry more than helping it, especially as there are other sources of entertainment - like video games - that are fighting for consumer attention. Will file sharers stop spending their cash on music entirely, if disconnected from their sources of content?