The 18-25 age group is a lost cause when it comes to legitimate online services, according to Apple.

Apple vice-president of applications Eddie Cue told the Financial Times: "We thought the 18-25 age group was a lost cause because they've been downloading music for free for years. The under-10 crew and the over-25 crew is where we're aimed."

The FT reports that, alarmed by the 20 per cent decline in global music sales over the past four years, some media companies are hoping to defend their revenue models with legitimate online services and copy-protection systems. However, "some executives argue they are already too late", reports the FT.

"Apple faces the tricky proposition of persuading people to buy songs from its catalogue of 500,000 tracks when there are 900 million tracks available illegally on file-sharing sites," says the FT.