There's a new survey that notes illegal downloads of content via the Web has dropped by 17% over the last couple of years. that young Internet users who  percentage points in the last two years. When they were asked what was the biggest concern, most said that they were afraid of downloading a computer virus (63%) or spyware (52%).

         

Of course, good parenting obviously has had an effect: 40% said that "getting in trouble with my parents" was why teens weren't downloading illegal content... one of the biggest increases in all of the reasons cited (from 26%) in 2004.

My hunch: many kids who ususally have media players at the ready are becoming big iTunes, MSN Music, Yahoo Music and Rhapsody users. I know this first hand as I have seen the number of Apple iTunes cards and MSN Music tokens as gifts has risen steadily over the last year to our own family members. As I posted in February, I'm confident that we'll see increases in music stored on PCs (even with the gorowth of the average PC hard drive year over year).

Personally, after I joined a music subscription service, I've found that my own music listening has gone up dramatically and the bredth of tunes I listen to is more diverse than ever. For less than the price of a new CD each month, I get access to a huge library of music.

The devices are better than ever: my current small favorite is the Sandisk Sansa m240, with a gigabyte of storage, USB 2.0, an FM radio and long battery life from a rechargeable AAA battery. The PlaysForSure logo ensures that I was able to load it up with subscription music. It sounds like an ad, but it's a much better customer experience than I found last year when I tried to take advantage of some of the early subscription services with flash memory.

And when I find something I really like, I buy the CD and encode it in Windows Media Audio Lossless.

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