A recent study suggests that digital music sold with DRM technology may not sell as well as unprotected files.

Law firm Olswang and Entertainment Media Research conducted a survey of more than 300,000 music fans in the UK in which 68 percent of respondents said DRM-free music is the preferred format.

Yet an almost equal number say they agree with the intent behind DRM-which is to protect copyrights. Of the same group, 63% said they agreed that DRM is needed to protect copyrights from illegal file sharing.

About 39% said they would pay extra for DRM-free music, while 18% said they'd rather buy less-expensive protected files.

While the issue of DRM-free music has been a cud long chewed on by the digerati, the study suggests everyday music fans are growing wise as well. Only 37% of respondents said they never heard of DRM, which is 16% less than last year.