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Unlimited music: Punters prefer ISPs to Nokia

And how many freetards are there, really?

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Nokia and other gadget manufacturers face an uphill struggle getting people interested in music services - even if they're "unlimited". Punters would much prefer such services come from their ISP, according to a survey of attitudes in the UK, France and the USA.

Only five per cent would prefer to get music provided by their mobile network, and only three per cent by their mobile phone manufacturer. By contrast 46 per cent would prefer to get the service delivered by their ISP, and ten per cent by their TV provider. But in a sobering warning to potential music service providers, more than a third - 36 per cent - didn't want a music service through any of these options.

68 per cent of users surveyed said they didn't download any unlicensed music at all.

The survey was conducted by the Music Ally consultancy, and presented at MidemNet this weekend. Unfortunately, because of the narrow scope of the questions, the answers will be of limited value, and out of date almost instantly. Why? The pollsters only asked people about services which have been already launched in each country - not, for example, the legal P2P services Korea has launched and which we'll soon see here in the UK.

Asked which "unlimited" service people preferred, only five options were offered: mobile (eg Omnifone), phone or PC-based (eg Nokia Comes With Music), annual upfront subscription (eg Datz), free but tied to an ISP (eg TDC in Denmark) and rental based (eg Napster).

No option for legal P2P, then. Last year 80 per cent expressed an interest in paying for legal P2P file sharing. But this wasn't an option, and the numbers for the options listed were much lower.

Sometimes the lack of imagination of the music business is its own worst enemy. If you don't ask people what they really want, you might as well ask them how they like their eggs. For the record, 41 per cent expressed an interest in the TDC-model, and 14 per cent in Napster style rental. Only two per cent voted for Comes With Music.

Three strikes continues to haunt downloaders as a potent punishment. MusicAlly classed "file sharers" as 19 per cent of the total; but of these 63 per cent would stop if threatened with disconnection, 28 per cent would consider stopping, only nine per cent said they would not.

So do genuine freetards really number less than two per cent of the internet-using population? For all the noise they make, that's a very low number. ®

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