They are claiming that WinMX is the most popular source for downloading music on the internet, followed closely by iTunes. Their metric for this is that “2.1 million households” downloaded at least one song off WinMX. That’s funny, I can log on to eDonkey RIGHT NOW and see more than 4 million users online at this very second. Where does the donkey appear in NPD’s paper? It doesn’t. Their top 5 is rounded out by Limewire, KaZaA, and BearShare (no effort to combine the 2 gnutella clients). But I’m sure the mighty NPD is right, all those millions of users are probably just chatting or something, not downloading music. Seriously, do they just make this stuff up? Or ask their kids? Or what?
Why would they make such an audacious claim in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary? The answer is old school media. You see, before technology made our lives infinitely easier, someone came up with the idea of a “representative sample.” Basically, the theory is that it is impossible to measure the entire population accurately so let’s just take a small sample of the people out there, measure every little detail of what they do, then extrapolate that data and apply it to the general population.Gee, that was a great idea – in 1965. Quote from the: “NPD MusicWatch Digital collects information continuously from the PCs of 40,000 members of NPD’s online consumer panel, balanced demographically to represent the online population.” Wow 40,000? Gosh that must have taken you forever. Great job NPD, great investigative reporting there.
Ever wonder why the **AA looks so clueless when giving their soundbytes to the press? “Music industry executives, entertainment technology companies and retailers use NPD MusicWatch Digital information to answer their most important questions about digital music acquisition and use.” Oh, that explains it.
Shame on the mainstream media for buying this load. Shame on them for not looking at real statistics, just taking the easy way out and buying a “marketing demographic report” from NPD and reporting it as news. This is not reporting people, this is reprinting information that someone has handed you and said, “Oh yeah that’s probably true.”