Music downloading has become one of the most popular Web activities, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report says that the number of American adults downloading music has grown more than 40 percent since last summer, and nearly 30 million American adults tune into the Web to get songs.
"We see across-the-board growth in music downloading among all kinds of Internet users," Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project, said in a statement. "The legal struggles involving Napster have hardly dampened the public's appetite for this new way of getting music."
Even use of Napster, a popular music-swapping service, hasn't slowed because of its legal woes. The company, which has lost two rounds in court against the music industry on copyright infringement grounds, claims to have 65 million members, more than triple the 21 million figure it recorded last summer.
Young people are the most likely group to download music files, according to the Pew study. Nearly three-quarters of boys between ages 15 and 17 who have Internet access have obtained music via the Web. About half of those between ages 12 and 29 have downloaded music. And 29 percent of all adult Internet users said they had done so, up from 22 percent last summer.