Nearly half (44 per cent) of Macworld readers voting in this week's poll say they are more likely to buy music as legal track downloads.
Physical CDs are the preferred format for 38 per cent – with 20 per cent buying them from online CD stores, and 18 per cent shopping on the high street.
A naughty 17 per cent admit to using peer-to-peer services to download their music illegally.
Only one per cent of the 1,274 voting consider that Napster's idea of offering an "all-you-can-eat" subscription service, where music fans pay £15 a month to access all the music they like – but lose the music should they discontinue the subscription, is a good idea.
Some advocates of the subscription model share their thoughts in the Macworld forum. One writes: "I think this sort of service would be highly attractive to many non-enthusiast users as it keeps a continually renewed pool of tunes on the Shuffle –keeping the experience fresh. It also helps extend the range of artists liked – which must generate extra sales for iTunes.
Another points out: "The way I see it, subscription offers a stuffing service for people who haven't got much of a library to start with."
But those who are against the subscription model are more vocal. One writes: "I will never subscribe to a music service where I don't own music. Music is not the same as video because there are very few videos I wish to own, but there is quite a lot of music that I can't bear not to hear within a few minutes of thinking of it."
Another makes a similar point: "With a subscription service you don't own the tracks you are paying for. You either keep paying for the rest of your life or lose the music if you can't keep up payments. What happens if in two years time they decide to double the subscription cost?"
Going to CD
Many forum respondents are still buying physical CDs for a number of reasons. For many it is the guarantee of superior quality that can only be gained from this format, for others it’s the bonus items offered by a CD, such as the artwork and lyrics.
One sums up his reasons for preferring the CD thus: "For me it's still CDs. I like to hold something, look at the artwork and sleeve notes. And it's much harder to lose your music by accident or hardware failure. Plus we can all get them very cheaply and legally, online."
But for some the advantages of the physical CD can find no equal in the advantages offered by iTunes Music Store. One explains: "CDs may be cheaper and better quality, but quite frankly they are a pain in the neck – I have to PUT them somewhere which means more clutter."
For another the convenience of downloading is being able to hear the music immediately. He explains: "I have considered buying CDs from Amazon but since I will actually listen to them on the Mac and I can buy them and listen to them within a few minutes with iTunes, I've bought them from Apple."