Piper Jaffray Study Indicates Lowered Teenage Swapping

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File-sharing is now decreasing among teenagers, according to a recent Piper Jaffray study.

The group surveyed a total of 980 teenagers in the United States, and reported cooling file-swapping activity alongside increasing paid purchases.  Specifically, Piper Jaffray noted that 64 percent of survey participants download music illegally, down from 72 percent last year.  Meanwhile, 36 percent said they purchase music from online services, up from 28 percent last year.

The data indicates a favorable trend, though file-sharing surveys are notoriously inaccurate.  The reason is that respondents – especially teenagers – often fear reprisal for offering incriminating answers, even if they are assured confidentiality.  By contrast, media tracker BigChampagne recently pointed to an average simultaneous P2P file-sharing crowd of roughly 9 million, up from 3.8 million four years ago.

Meanwhile, the survey group showed an increased appetite for iPods.  Among portable player owners, 82 percent carried an iPod, up from 79 percent last year.  Among paying downloaders, 79 percent pointed to purchases on iTunes – down from 91 percent last year – though 16 percent reported purchases from the nebulous “other” category.