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Customers do not have to pay directly to download online content for such services to be profitable.

That is according to Paul Brindley, Chief Executive of Music Ally, who asserted that if products such as broadband packages are bundled with downloading services then this makes the "provision of music appear free to the end user".

Mr Brindley observed: "Not paying anything directly for such services does not mean that money cannot be made from such services."

The executive of the digital media and online music consultancy and analysis company made his comments following a new European Commission report which revealed that one third of 16 to 24-year-olds are unwilling to pay to download content.

He went on to say that although services such as YouTube and Spotify "still have much to prove in terms of actual income generating potential" but stressed that the level of interest in them from online content investors indicates that they have the potential to produce "considerable value".

"All content industries need to experiment further with more of these new models in the future," Mr Brindley added.

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