The number of U.S. music fans downloading music online increased by 27 percent between November 2003 and March 2004, research claims.
Pew Internet & American Life Project ran a survey among 1371 Internet users to reach its estimates, which include users of file sharing networks (LimeWire, Kazaa) and legal services, such as Apple Computer's ITunes Music Store. Downloaders rose from 18 million to 23 million in the period.
The researchers also found that 14 percent of "online Americans" say they used to download files but don't now, with a third of that group saying this was in response to fear of legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America.
"The retreat is particularly pronounced among male Internet users between the ages of 18-29, and those who have broadband connections at home," the researchers say.
The survey also deduced a five-million person reduction in the number of Kazaa users, but also saw a rise in the number of users exploiting similar but smaller services.
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News source: PCWorld