Music Experience and Behaviour in Young People
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Hertfordshire
Unit of AssessmentMusic, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Studies In Creative Arts and Writing: Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Summary of the impact
Research conducted 2008-11 by the university's Music and Entertainment
Industries Research Group on the online music consumption habits of
British 14-24 year olds has influenced national and international music
industry stakeholders and legislative bodies. First, the findings helped
industry body UK Music to inform its influential music industry
membership's knowledge and understanding of copyright issues and changing
music spending patterns. They also inspired a `Proposal', written by the
Songwriters Association of Canada and widely read in north America, urging
industry-wide adaptation to changing music listening preferences. Further,
the work has contributed to pre-legislative copyright debate and policy
making in Britain and overseas.
In 2008 and 2009, UK Music, the umbrella body that represents the
collective interests of the entire UK music industry, commissioned the
University of Hertfordshire's Music and Entertainment Industries Research
Group (MEIRG) to research and report on the online music consumption
habits of 14-24 year-olds in the UK. UK Music made this commission based
on MEIRG's academic profile, and because the university's undergraduate
degree programme in Music and Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) is
recognised by industry as the leading programme of its kind in the UK. A
third national survey, not commissioned by UK Music, took place in 2011.
The findings of all three research projects were based on a large-scale
survey of approximately 1,800 UK respondents, which included a
representative mix of ages, and a roughly 50/50 gender split, within the
target demographic. The survey's respondents were sourced via YouGov,
youth groups, secondary schools and universities across the UK, as well as
through media and social networks, and music partners. David Bahanovich
(Reader) and Dennis Collopy (Senior Lecturer) co-directed the research
project, which included concept generation, survey question design,
marketing and online implementation, along with data analysis and writing
the final reports. They generated the questions in collaboration with UK
Music, enlisting the university's 120 MEIM students as a focus group to
test and refine the final questions used in the survey. Robust statistical
analysis of the respondents' answers was carried out by Lindsey Kevan of
the university's Statistical Services and Consultancy Unit.
The results provided a penetrating insight into how 14-24 year-olds
accessed, consumed and shared music during the 2008-11 period. The
findings shed light on key issues confronting the music industry, chiefly
revealing that music was the most popular form of entertainment, that
ownership both online and offline was hugely important to the target
group, and that there was a significant value gap in terms of the
popularity of music and the amount of money spent on it, especially when
compared to other entertainment types. Free file-sharing was widespread,
yet 85 per cent of those who accessed music illegally said they would be
interested in paying for an unlimited download service. Eighty-seven per
cent2028said that copying between devices was important to them; 86 per
cent of respondents had copied a CD for a friend; 75 per cent had sent
music by email, Bluetooth, Skype or MSN; 57 per cent had copied a friend's
entire music collection; 39 per cent had downloaded music from an online
storage site; and 38 per cent had ripped a TV, radio or Internet stream.
The main entertainment hub was the computer: 68 per cent of respondents
used it every day to listen to music. The popularity of peer-to-peer file
sharing remained unchanged between 2008 and 2011, with 61 per cent stating
that they downloaded music using peer-to-peer networks or torrent
trackers. Of this group, 83 per cent did this on a weekly or daily basis.
This was the first major piece of targeted academic research in this
fast-changing area of interest: previously, the British music industry and
government had relied on reports from commercial organisations. The first
report's findings were delivered before the House of Commons in June 2008
(discussed in section 4), while the 2011 national survey's findings
(published 2012) were released in June 2012 at the University of Music and
Performing Arts, Vienna.
References to the research
D. Bahanovich and D. Collopy (and C. Koester, 2009 report), `Music
Experience and Behaviour in Young People', National Survey Research
Report, originally commissioned by UK Music, 2008 (1st report); 2009 (2nd
report); 2012 (3rd report).
- The 2009 report is available online at:
- The 2008 and 2012 reports are available on request
Details of the impact
Music Industry: National
The findings of the 2008 study, which were reported in over 250 global
news sources, provided invaluable quantitative data for stakeholders in
the £3.9 billion British music industry. They informed an ongoing
intellectual property and copyright debate as the industry attempted to
adjust to unprecedented changes in music recording, sales and purchasing.
The most immediate impact lay in plugging significant information gaps.
UK Music, which supports the music industry through policy and research,
commissioned the work on behalf of its constituent members, who are: the
Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS), Phonographic Performance
Limited (PPL), British Phonographic Industry (BPI), British Academy of
Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), Music Publishers Association
(MPA), Music Producers Guild (MPG), Music Managers Forum (MMF), Musicians
Union (MU), and the Association of Independent Music (AIM). These nine
organisations, which are the engines of the UK music industry, engage with
government in crafting policy on intellectual property, copyright
infringement and other important legislative areas for industry growth. As
each organisation is represented on UK Music's Research Steering Group,
the entire membership was closely involved in ensuring that the work would
serve their interests and needs. They also discussed and analysed the
data, and its implications for business decisions, policy and education.
The research informed UK Music's position on policy issues and the design
of copyright education resources, in turn informing its members' business
development and licensing teams. UK Music's policy advisers were
particularly interested in the changing spending patterns identified by
the report, and its senior policy advisor summed up the value of the
findings to the organisation:
The research involved the largest study to date of the attitudes and
practices of a very important age group in the UK, at a very crucial time
in the development of the market — and it was a very useful as well as an
innovative and illuminating piece of research. We used it. That's about as
much as you could ask for in research.
Music Industry: International
The first report was widely read by the major international record
labels, especially Universal Music (the largest music company in the
world), which circulated the research internally.
One example of its influence on an overseas music industry organisation
is the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC), whose president was
particularly interested in the findings' implications for adapting to
changing listening preferences. He has stated that he was greatly
influenced by the `tremendous impact' of Hertfordshire's `groundbreaking
work', which inspired the SAC's own region-specific investigation of
piracy. Funded by the Ontario government and conducted across all of
Canada by Montreal-based research group CROP, the findings were well
publicised in the USA in particular.
`The Hertfordshire Study' is prominently cited in the SAC's `Proposal' —
its discussion, advocacy and lobbying document — which, according to the
organisation's website, has attracted `unprecedented interest'. The
Proposal's summary opens with an uncompromising proposition whose origins
clearly lie in Bahanovic and Collopy's findings:
Rather than continuing to engage in increasingly futile efforts to stop
people from using new technologies to share music, we . . . believe this
massive use of creators' work should be licensed just as live performances
and broadcasting, also initially considered infringement, were ultimately
licensed in the past.
UK Music incorporated the research findings into its submissions to
government on legislative and policy matters. In June 2008, for example,
it presented the research at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group on Music. According to UK Music's senior policy advisor, `the
meeting was very enlightening and invigorating' and the new data was `very
valuable to Parliamentarians'.
Indirect impact on government debate and policy making occurred via UK
Music's current and former chief executives, who often provide evidence to
various select committees; and through the organisation's policy
recommendations, which are regularly cited in Commons and Lords debates.
The organisation meets officials, MPs, advisers and ministers to discuss
policy issues affecting the music industry, and uses the Hertfordshire
findings in its numerous responses to consultations on copyright exemption
for private copying.
The 2008 report was quoted in a Department for Business, Enterprise and
Regulatory Reform consultation on peer-to-peer file sharing (2008), and in
the Digital Britain Report (2009), a significant government policy
document that detailed a strategic plan to secure Britain's place in the
vanguard of the global digital economy. Copyright was a central issue, and
Action 11 read: `The University of Hertfordshire research into attitudes
towards music and copyright by young people showed that only 10% of those
surveyed are currently deterred from file-sharing by a fear of being
caught. The current approach to civil enforcement is not working as well
as it needs to.'
As the Digital
Economy Act (2010) was one outcome of this report, MEIRG's research
therefore contributed to the government's decision to introduce
legislation to reduce unlawful file-sharing. The research was further
cited in the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy's
report `Copycats? Digital Consumers in the Online Age' (2009), which
examined the implications of digital consumer behaviour and attitudes for
intellectual property policy.
The research findings were included in the World Intellectual Property
Organisation's 2010 report on music, film, and software piracy in
developing economies, and a subsequent independent, multi-country report
published in 2011. The European Parliament also cited the work in
connection with Directive 2004/48/EC (enforcement of Intellectual Property
Rights in member states). Policy and law makers internationally therefore
used the Hertfordshire research to inform their decisions and
recommendations on intellectual property and copyright infringement.
Sources to corroborate the impact
`Proposal', Songwriters Association of Canada:
A `Summary' of the Proposal is available at:
Music Industry: Organisational Corroboration
Two individuals have agreed to corroborate information about the use of
the research findings within and beyond their organisations; contact
details have been provided separately.
Government: Selected Reports, Policy and Discussion Documents
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, `Consultation
on Legislative Options to Address Illicit Peer to Peer (P2P) File Sharing'
(July 2008), p. 12.
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, `The Digital Britain
Report' (2009), pp. 42. <www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm76/7650/7650.pdf>
Intellectual Property Office, `Consultation on Copyright', (2011), p. 62.
The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Policy (SABIP), `Copycats?
Digital Consumers in the Online Age' (2009), pp. 7, 19.
`Media Piracy in Emerging Economies: Price, Market Structure and consumer
Behaviour', World Intellectual Property Organisation: Advisory committee
on enforcement, Geneva (2010), p. 9.
Joe Karaganis (ed.), `Media Piracy in Emerging Economies', Social Science
Research Council, US (2011) pp. 31, 36. ISBN 9780984125746 <http://piracy.americanassembly.org/the-report/>
`The Implementation of the Notion of "Commercial Scale" versus "Private
Use" in the Framework of Directive 2004/48/EC: The Consumer Perspective',
European Parliament, Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and
Constitutional Affairs, Brussels (2008), p. 10.
Representative Media Reporting
Sam Jones, `Music industry may seek salvation in "all you can eat"
downloads', Guardian [online], 10 August 2009. <www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/10/music-download-young-people>
Bonnie Malkin, `Teens have 800 illegal songs on iPods', Telegraph,
16 Jun 2008.
Brock Read, `Young People are Willing to Pay for Legal Music File
Sharing, Survey Finds', Chronicle of Higher Education (USA), 17
`Teenagers "have 800 illegal songs" on iPods', The Hindu (India),
16 June 2008.