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STUDY: Pirates Buy 10 Times More Music Than They Steal

STUDY: Pirates Buy 10 Times More Music Than They Steal

So much for the record industry’s insistence to the contrary.

Once again we have a study by flesh and bone researchers who have discovered that music piracy actually increases music consumption.

Consumer Culture in Times of Crisis” was conductEd by the BI Norwegian School of Management, the largest business school in Norway and the second largest in all of Europe. The study looked at almost 2,000 online music users over the age of 15, and asked file-sharers to prove their legal music purchases rather then simply rely on their honesty.

It concludes that those who download music illegally also purchase the most number of legal digital downloads. In fact, the study reports that file-sharers actually buy 10 times as much music as they download for free.

“The most surprising thing is that the proportion of paid downloads is so high,” said BI researcher Audun Molde.The results suggest that they are buying twice as much music as they get for free, and also those who state that they download for free actually are the greatest consumers of paid music online.”

As usual, record labels say the results are bogus. After all, one illegal download equals one last sale right? That’s what they teach in music industry school.

“There is one thing you cant explain, and it is that the consumption of music increases, while revenue declines,” says EMI record label rep Bjørn Rogstad. “It can not be explained in any way other than that the illegal downloading is over the legal sale of music. “Based on the results from the survey you might think that the free download stimulates a paid download, but here it’s tough keep the tongue straight in your mouth. Whether those who download music for free would buy the same music, it is, and is a purely hypothetical question.”

He may have trouble believing it, but I don’t. Why? Think about it. The record industry has been hammered by a number of factors, but perhaps by none more so that the bane of all decent, hard working musicians – the digital single.

A $20, grossly overpriced, physical album used to be what everyone bought and then came the digital music revolution. To make matters worse, people no longer wanted 2 good tracks and 15 of fluff. They wanted a single song, which they could suddenly get for 99 cents, less than a single dollar.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where your profit margins headed with this new paradigm shift.

Molde also takes the music industry to task for not focusing all of its efforts on creating music delivery platforms consumers actually want.

“There should be no record industry task to prosecute those who download illegally,” he added. “They must work aggressively to create good music and make it available in legal forms. It is the legislators job to enforce copyright law.”

Without skipping a beat, Rogstad counters that the music industry isn’t wasting too much time suing file-sharers, and insists that they are working overtime to create music services people want.

“No, we are using much, much more time to develop good services, he says. “In my opinion, is not the key to fight file-sharers whatsoever, it lies with providers, the so-called ISPs.

Moreover, the study echoes the previous conclusions of none other than the Canadian govt, which found that “P2P file-sharing tends to increase rather than decrease music purchasing.”

That report, The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study For Industry Canada, was commissioned by Industry Canada, a ministry of the Canadian federal government, and includes extensive surveying on the music purchasing habits of the Canadian population.

“Our review of existing econometric studies suggests that P2P file-sharing tends to decrease music purchasing,” says the study. “However, we find the opposite, namely that P2P file-sharing tends to increase rather than decrease music purchasing.

The record industry claims to use facts and figures to support its conclusion that file-sharing is to blame for decreasing profits, but once again we see that the people it’s blaming for its woes are actually among its best customers.

If file-sharers buy 10 times as much music as their law abiding counterparts, then couldn’t you argue that suing them is actually accelerating the record industry’s decline?

Oh the irony.

However, and its something I just now considered, it’s that though the researchers ask for proof of music purchased, i.e legal music consumption, they have no way to verify illegal music consumption. A guy can say he only downloaded two songs illegally in the past month and then bought twenty, with receipts to prove it, but how do the researchers know for sure he only illegally downloaded 2 songs? P2P doesn’t provide receipts. To use an unsubstantiated claim on the one hand, and written proof on the other certainly allows one to question the study’s conclusions. As much as I like what it has to say, I’m sure we wouldn’t give the RIAA any slack if it had a study with alternative findings.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Øystein Jakobsen
Øystein Jakobsen

Drew is reading the report wrong.It's not that pirates are buying more music than they download, the study found that pirates are buying more music than non-pirates. The study found that pirates bought 2x as much stuff as non-pirates, I don't think it was 10xBI is not known for being the best researchers in Copyright stuff, now there are many other reports saying the same - piracy is good, monopoly is bad. Reform is needed

Dave
Dave

Hi Chad,I'm like you, actually, and it's because radio sucks. How else can you check out a new band that you just heard about? Certainly not on the radio, so downloading a track or two to check it out, then buying the CD if you like what you here is the best way to go.The last five or six CDs that I've purchased this year have been because I've been able to check them out first by downloading.If everybody were like us then free downloading would be a gigantic boost to the music industry.BUT. . .I have discovered that there are far too many freeloaders that simply refuse to pay for anything, whether it be software, music or videos, and THAT is what is destroying the music industry.I am in a band that is literally getting killed by all the Limewire and Bittorrent downloaders. I can search the internet and find bittorrent sites that offer up our entire discography of studio CDs, live CDs and DVDs.We don't sell platinum, we sell about 40,000 or 50,000 of each title, which barely breaks us even with our record company. That extra 15% or 20% that gets siphoned off the top by downloaders amounts to 100% of what profits we would have made for all of our time, creativity and hard work.We end up not making a dime, and there is no way we will continue to be able to justify doing this. There are many other bands in the same position as us..End result. . .. .far less quality and variety to choose from and we're stuck with Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

Chad
Chad

Generally if we download and like one song we will go out & buy the CD, yes CD, we still like having the artwork & physical copy. It's really not a whole lot different than hearing a single on the radio or seeing a video on MTV (when they used to show videos),"Like one song, you might like them all, come buy our stuff."

manakazero
manakazero

This "study" sounds bogus. People buy 10 albums for every one they download illegally? I doubt it, but who really cares? The music industry is dead as we know it.

Matt Jay
Matt Jay

First, lets get a US statistic in here, seeing that music and intellectual property is the country's second largest export, next to weapons. The rest of the world eats it up, mostly illegally. Norway, is not being effected by this, the US is. They are right next to Sweden's Pirate Bay too, who held up the middle finger for years to the IFPI and WIPO when they wanted them to stop. Anybody could pick this article apart effortlessly. I don't care what Norway says... they can keep their house music that no one wants to pirate. Give me US stats buddy... this article is horribly planned and and sourced. P.S. Canada can keep Celine Dion too.

javagirl500
javagirl500

When people watch/hear many downloads, they will buy their favorites. There can be a big difference in quality. It is nice to have it around to bring to a friend's house... easier than a drive. And DVDs don't give you trouble like malware... which happens more often on peer sites than one thinks (the private ones are different). Finally, downloading takes time while Blockbuster may be minutes away. Personally, I mourn the day music went digital. Vinyl gives a richer sound.

phellinus igniarius
phellinus igniarius

no matter the data are true or not, i don't think the download will replace the sale. if the music or movie is really fantastic, people will not hesitate to buy it. but download really affect the sale, cause some music and movies suck, i won't listen to it again, not metion buy itChinese herbal medicine, good for your health. More details, contact me. My msn:[email protected]

Du2vye
Du2vye

I agree that some of the questions and data are soft, but it's supported by several other studies that say the same thing - as long as they were paid for by TRADE organizations. When subject matter is subjective, sometimes the only way to view it is over many studies.When people are exposed to more music (or movies), they are going to want more too. I doubt if it's 1:1 because I suspect half (or more) of what people download they were sampling and curious about it. The download wasn't replacing a sale.A percentage of those probably liked what they got and without being able to download it would have never heard or seen it.The biggest falicy is what the industry said "How can you explain demand growing and sales lagging". Easy. What the industry is offering is crap.Most music sold now is outside of traditional large labels. They blew it.

memory foam
memory foam

Regardless of how one feels on the issue, this is very poor journalism. Look at how they say in one sentence that the figure is 10X, then just 2 sentences later, the actual researcher is quoted saying it's 2X:'In fact, the study reports that file-sharers actually buy 10 times as much music as they download for free.“The most surprising thing is that the proportion of paid downloads is so high,” said BI researcher Audun Molde. “The results suggest that they are buying twice as much music as they get for free, and also those who state that they download for free actually are the greatest consumers of paid music online.”'So if they are possibly losing up to 33% of the sales from their best customers, the companies could make a case that it is hurting them.

soulxtc
soulxtc

The study's authors do say they asked for proof of purchase, so it's really a matter of whether the group studied was truly representative or not.However, and its soemthing I didnt consider, it's that though the researchers ask for proof of music purchased, i.e legal music consumption, they have no way to verify illegal music consumption. A guy can say he only downloaded two songs illegally in the past month and then bought twenty, with receipts to prove it, but how do the researchers know for sure he only downloaded 2?(story updated)

1cooldude
1cooldude

This may be a bit of a hyperbola but I do believe that a lot of the info which RIAA pumps out also carries a bit of stretched truth.

Signa
Signa

I can't say I agree with the study either. 10 times more bought than downloaded? Maybe 10 times more than IF they DIDN'T download, but it doesn't make sense that some one would download an album, and then buy 10 more albums legitimately afterward.

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

"I am in a band that is literally getting killed by all the Limewire and Bittorrent downloaders. I can search the internet and find bittorrent sites that offer up our entire discography of studio CDs, live CDs and DVDs."I'd be celebrating if hundreds of users were doing that with my stuff. Getting killed my ass."We don’t sell platinum, we sell about 40,000 or 50,000 of each title, which barely breaks us even with our record company."Then dump your record company as they are horribly ripping you off. If you don't have any of that fancy recording equipment, then you are throwing all your money into the abyss. It's entirely your record company and recording studio's fault that you're barely breaking even."That extra 15% or 20% that gets siphoned off the top by downloaders amounts to 100% of what profits we would have made for all of our time, creativity and hard work."You mean to say you were stupid enough to sign a contract where you'd never see 80% to 85% of the earnings? Man, I'd be regretting that signature for the rest of my life if I were you.In any even, you are blaming the wrong people here. That much is obvious."We end up not making a dime, and there is no way we will continue to be able to justify doing this. "Then you are making music for all the wrong reasons. If you go in to music production saying, "I better be making millions for this!" Then you deserve what you are getting.As an artist myself, I don't think I should be making millions just because I put together music. I happen to think that you earn what you get instead."There are many other bands in the same position as us."I know there are, but I'm sure there are bands out there that place the blame on the correct people, not their fans. Blaming your fans is the most destructive thing you can do to yourself."End result."End result is that I hope people with your attitude fall by the wayside because you're giving real artists like me a bad rep amongst music fans."far less quality and variety to choose from"You acutally believe this BS? Well, can't say every artist is the brightest penny in the fountain I suppose. Still, you're an idiot for believing that when online alternatives like Soundclick, Jamendo, Magnatune, artist server and several others out there are proving you wrong with their very existance.Anyway, if people downloading your music is such a huge concern, tell them to go download my music for free instead. You can find it on the top 20 list on the eMule content database (which can be found here: http://contentdb.emule-project.net/view.php?pid=1620 ) and let them know that there are artists out there that appreciate it when their music is being downloaded for free.Thank you! :)



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