Well, some free, actually - iTunes giveways, Mp3 blog goodies, dupes of Inquirer dumpster diving finds. Oh yeah, a few songs ripped by my I'm-spending-$40,000-for-college-so-music-should-be-free nephew. A lot paid for, anyway. Most.
I do this accounting of my relative honesty after reading a clever bit of sleuthing by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing. He found a 14-month old Downhill Battle Website that does a little figuring to shatter any illusions about where people are getting their music.
As of April 15 , Apple had sold roughly 60 million iTunes and 3 million iPods. That's about 21 songs per iPod. For perspective, the smallest iPods hold 1,000 songs, and some hold 10,000 songs. So, when people fill up those iPods, where does all the music come from?
This bit a realism comes on the well-trodden heels of widely reported study by the NPD Group that identified Apple's for-pay iTunes as the 2nd most-popular digital music service, tying with the free Limewire, a peer-to-peer service. WinMX, also free, topped the charts at 2.1 million households.
The math sounds strange, given I always thought most people were quite happy to pinch their music. For these sorts of puzzles I usually turn to Eric Garland, who runs BigChampagne, a company that has been measuring file-sharing since the final days of the original Napster. His figures: while paid downloads soared to 140.9 million tracks last year, since mid-2003 19 billion files have changed computers. 19 billion!