Although USC banned students from using Napster to facilitate MP3 file-sharing several weeks back, the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication recently conducted a survey of the school’s students and found little evidence that using MP3 technologies was harmful to either the recording industry or artists.
Instead, the study found that while 69% of all students surveyed said they’d downloaded MP3 — and 68% of those used Napster — 63% of these downloading students claimed to still be purchasing the same number of CDs and 10% of them said they were buying more CDs.
In addition, 39% of the downloading students said that after listening to music in the MP3 format, they “often” buy CDs containing that music. The surveyed students also rated CDs higher than MP3s with respect to sound quality.
Furthermore, while sharing music files is a popular activity, 68% of the downloading students surveyed said they’ve never converted CD music to the MP3 format and 70% have never uploaded MP3s to the Internet.
Perhaps most tellingly, 69% of the students surveyed agreed that copyright holders should be paid for downloaded MP3s.