Recent moves by social networking sites into the digital music business have been backed by a new report.

The 2006 Digital Music Survey, carried out by Entertainment Media Research, shows the likes of Bebo and Myspace have a strong influence over the way listeners’ discover and purchase music online.

Almost a quarter of visitors to social networking sites said they have a “massive” or “big” impact on their music purchases, while 31% said they had bought music they had discovered on these sites.

Nearly half (49%) also said they regularly or occasionally recommended artists to other users of social networking sites.

The report said Myspace, which announced its first move into the digital music business last week, had been visited by 35% of the 3000 respondents, and 56% of the 13 to 17 year olds it surveyed. Bebo and MSN Spaces came second with 50%, followed by Piczo with 38%.