April 24, 2001

The Music Downloading Population Shoots Up 40% in a Half Year

37 Million Adults and Teenagers have used the Internet to Collect Songs

Washington, D.C., (Tuesday, April 24) — Close to 30 million American adults have downloaded music files over the Internet and it has been one of the fastest growing Internet activities in the past half-year, especially among men. Surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that between July-August 2000 and February 2001, the number of American adults who have downloaded music online shot up more than 40%.

In all, 29% of adult Internet users say they have downloaded music, a proportion that has grown from the 22% of Internet users who told us they had downloaded music as of the summer of 2000. More than half (51%) of those between ages 18 and 29 who have Internet access have downloaded music files.

Moreover, 53% of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 have also downloaded music files – that is more than 7 million youth who have retrieved music files to their computers’ hard drives. This online activity is especially popular with older teenage boys. Almost three quarters of boys ages 15-17 with Internet access have downloaded music files.

“We see across-the-board growth in music downloading among all kinds of Internet users,” says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project. “The legal struggles involving Napster have hardly dampened the public’s appetite for this new way of getting music.”

In the six months between August 2000 and February 2001, music downloading became an increasingly regular activity for Internet users. The number of adult American Internet users downloading music on any given day doubled to more than 6 million. That is twice the number of Internet users buying retail products online on any given day and equal to the number seeking health information on the Web or looking for travel information.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is a non-profit initiative fully funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Project creates original research that explores the impact of the Internet on children, families, communities, health care, schools, the work place, and civic/political life. The Pew Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source for timely information on the Internet”s growth and societal impact, through research that is scrupulously impartial.