Is education the answer for labels?

Microsoft today released a new study that claims Junior High teens are less likely to illegally download music when they know the laws about file sharing.

Download the entire study here.

Unfortunately, only half of the sample were actually familiar with those laws, and only 11% of them understood the laws about downloading images, literature, music, movies, music, and software.  Of those who knew the rules, parents and news stories were credited with distributing the information – not their schools.

Other findings included:

  • 82% of the teens surveyed who said they were familiar with the laws (82% of 49%) said that illegal downloaders should be punished.  57% of those unfamiliar with the laws (57% of 51%) said punishment was deserved.
  • Teens regard illegal file sharing as less offensive than other forms of stealing.
  • 48% said punishment was deserved for illegal downloads versus 90% who said punishment was appropriate for stealing a bike.
  • Teens rely on parents for guidelines on file downloads.
  • Parents seem to be the main source of rules for their internet activity.
  • Awareness of potential consequences that reinforce parental guidelines is a good deterrent to illegal download activity.
  • Boys are more likely than Girls to continue downloading files illegally once warned by parents.
  • Peer Pressure & Money are the main reasons behind illegal downloads with teens.

KRC Research, on behalf of Microsoft, conducted the online survey of 501 teenagers attending seventh through tenth grades. The interviews were conducted between Jan. 14 and 17, 2008. The estimated margin of error for the national study is +/-4.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

For me, the implications are obvious:

  • The record industry needs to do a better job of getting information to parents, as well as resources for discussing the legalities with their children.
  • Labels must step up their education strategy at the school level.
  • Cost and perceived value remains an issue.
  • The industry needs to secure the support of influence makers at the peer level with this generation.


  1. Education is the answer, but for labels. « Strategic Media & Marketing - It Ain’t Brain Surgery - Scott Sands - February 15, 2008

    […] is the answer, but for labels. Posted on February 15, 2008 by Scott Sands Yesterday, my blog shared research indicating consumer education might be the answer for music’s battle with illegal […]

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