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Users Tune In To Legal Music

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Downloads from iTunes have pulled even with peer-to-peer service Limewire, a tie for second place among music sources.

The music industry may finally have reason to jam in joyful celebration. Legal music downloads, led by Apple’s iTunes Music Store, have made significant headway against file sharing services.

In March, 1.7 million households downloaded at least one song from iTunes, about the same as those using LimeWire. A different P2P service, WinMX, had 2.1 million households in March, according to a report from NPD’s MusicWatch Digital service.

Paid downloads from rival services Napster and Real Networks were among the top ten services used to get music by households. Other P2P services like Kazaa, BearShare, Ares Galaxy, Morpheus, and iMesh rounded out the top ten.

“One of the music industry’s questions has been when will paid download stores compete head-to-head with free P2P download services,” said Russ Crupnick, president of the NPD Group’s Music and Movies division.

“That question has now been answered. iTunes is more popular than nearly any P2P service, and two other paid digital music offerings have also gained a level of critical mass.

The report stated that 4 percent of households with Internet access used a paid download store in March. Many of these consumers were over 30, which goes with the common wisdom that older consumers are more likely to be deterred by anti-piracy efforts than younger demographics.

The average age and income of the over 30 group was 33 and $83,000 annually.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Users Tune In To Legal Music
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