A survey by the University of Hertfordshire found that the average teenager's iPod or digital music player contains 842 pirated songs:
The average digital music player carries 1,770 songs, meaning that 48 per cent of the collection is copied illegally. The proportion of illegally downloaded tracks rises to 61 per cent among 14 to 17-year-olds. In addition, 14 per cent of CDs (one in seven) in a young person's collection are copied.
Illegal copying in some form is undertaken by 96 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed, falling to 89 per cent of those aged 14-17. Nearly two thirds copy CDs from friends, and similar proportions share songs by e-mail and copy all the music held on another person's hard drive, acquiring up to 10,000 songs in one go.
British Music Rights argues that the solution partly lies in developing new legal services that make breaking copyright unappealing.
Mr Sharkey said: “The positive message is that 80 per cent of downloaders said they would pay for a legal subscription-based service, and they told us they would be willing to pay more than a few pounds a month.”