Recent research reveals Web surfers who download music from song-swap sites are among the biggest customers of high-street and online music-CD vendors.

The findings, reported by Reuters, are based on a survey of 36,000 US Internet users by Nielsen/NetRatings.

The results showed that nearly 31 million active Internet users aged 18 or above have downloaded music in the past 30 days, and that 71 per cent purchased music in the past three months. Online music enthusiasts are 111 per cent more likely to buy rap than average Internet users.

Online music enthusiasts are 106 per cent more likely to buy dance and club music than the average Internet user, and 77 per cent more likely to buy alternative rock.