Europe is ripe for digital music distribution services, a new survey claims.

Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates the European market for music downloads to be a potential 650 million Euros – because 55 per cent of Europe's broadband users will pay up to £10 each month to get their ears around legal music.

"Broadband users expressed considerably more interest in downloading music files than in other broadband entertainment services," the researchers state. 63 per cent of the sample group were "very or somewhat interested in this", compared to 41 per cent wanting movies and 32 per cent who are interested in playing games.

Strategy Analytics principal analyst David Mercer urges music companies to strike while the iron is hot, saying: "Broadband users are clearly ready and waiting to start downloading music tracks, and to pay for the privilege. Incremental revenue opportunities await those pioneers willing to explore new business models offered by online delivery".

James Penhune, director of the Strategy Analytics Broadband Media and Communications service, said: "The survey data suggests that despite the widespread use of illegal peer-to-peer music services, a significant number of today's broadband users are ready to pay for legitimate services that deliver value through improved song selection, security and ease of use."