At the same time that Napster was fending off multiple legal attacks, Americans were clambering to download as much free music as they could — while the going was good. Indeed, despite new attempts at restrictions, and with pay-per-song sites expected to become the norm, a slowdown in such activity is unlikely. Downloading music has been one of the fastest growing online pursuits. By February 2001, 30 million Americans — 29 percent of adult Internet users — joined in the grab, up from 21 million in July-August 2000, an increase of 43 percent. Every day, more than 6 million Americans retrieve music files online, equal to the number getting health or travel information from the Web, a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey reports. Like the majority of Web surfers, Napsterites are tech savvy and young, but they also tend to be less educated and disproportionately male, ethnic, and fall in the lower-income category. Teenage boys are particularly enthusiastic: 73 percent of 15- to 17-year-old boys have downloaded. But the old and rich are beginning to listen up: The percentage of those 55 and older who download music jumped from 9 percent to 15 percent in the same period, and the percentage of those with household incomes of $75,000 or more increased from 15 percent to 24 percent.
Almost half of all Hispanic Internet users (46 percent) downloaded music in February 2001, compared with 26 percent of whites.
PERCENT OF INTERNET USERS WHO DOWNLOAD MUSIC
|JULY-AUG 2000||FEB 2001|
|Less than high school||38%||55%|
|High school graduate||25%||31%|
|College degree or higher||15%||21%|
|Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project|