The BPI today announced the launch of an education programme (via Childnet) aimed at informing parents about what their kids might be up to on music file sharing networks. The campaignís cartoon which supposedly shows children discussing music downloading actually looks like a middle aged housewife and a petrol pump attendant. But letís assume for the moment that this isnít an illustration of this campaign being out of touch with kidsí attitudes and concernsÖ.
Warning parents about the way in which their kids might be downloading pornography, viruses, spyware and be running the risk of landing their parents with a huge fine certainly plays the fear card well. But thereís a good reason for the labels to be particularly worried about kids downloading illegally: if they grow up doing so, there is a danger that when they become adults with disposable income they wonít have any concept of music as a commodity and that would be bad news for music sales.
However, itís not just kids downloading. Young adults are particularly avid file sharers. Our latest European Music Consumer Survey report shows that over a third of online 15-24 year olds use file sharing networks at least monthly. In the UK alone there are approximately two and half million music file sharers aged over 15. So whilst the industry is right to try to nip the problem in the bud, a lot of the horses have already bolted.