A survey of 1000 teenagers, undertaken in January this year, has shown that only 26% admit file-sharing at least once a month, compared to 42% in December 2007. Meanwhile, 65% of teens stream music regularly, with 31% of 14-18-year-olds listening to streaming tracks every day.
Those streaming tracks are provided by services such as Spotify, Last.fm and We7. We7 CEO Steve Purdham told the Guardian: "They may not buy an album, though they have that opportunity, but you can sell them tour tickets and a T-shirt of their favourite band".
Meanwhile, Spotify spokesman Jim Butcher said: "One of the fundamental aims of Spotify was to develop a service that was better than piracy. We've always maintained that music fans don't want to fileshare illegally but they do want to have everything at their fingertips instantly".
Unsurprisingly, the record companies are claiming that this is down to their hard work: "The industry has worked hard to licence new services, they are great music discovery tools and a new way for artists to get paid and drive new sales", said Geoff Taylor, CEO of the BPI.
Legal digital sales are increasing, with singles up 41.5% in 2008. Physical sales of singles fell 43.5%. The research also revealed that 19% of music fans are buying track downloads compared to 17% that illegally download them.