Revenue earned by artists from both concerts and recorded music sales has risen steadily over the past 5 years as revenue earned by labels has declined dramatically, therefore making the case that the only real loser from illegal file-sharing has been the record labels themselves,
Music labels have been the most vocal critic of file-sharing, doing everything they can to discredit the litany of studies proving the beneficial effects of P2P on artists.
One of the more recent was the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) stand against a UK Digital Music Survey which found that two-thirds of those who illegally download music spent an average of £75 ($123 USD) a year on music versus £44 ($72 USD) by those that don’t.
As proof it offered figures that show a steady decline in sales of recorded music.
Therein lies the rub. For according to a study completed by Will Page, the Chief Economist for PRS for Music, a UK-based royalty collecting group, back in July, the decline in sales of recorded music has mirrored a likewise increase in live performance revenue earned by artists.
In other words, as record labels are making less, artists are making more.
In fact, according to a detailed examination of the figures produced by Page it appears that sometime next year for the first time ever the money artists make performing in concert will surpass what the record labels make selling recorded music. In other words, the inmates will arguably soon run the prison.
It’s a welcome turn of events, for it means that at last artists will be able to receive the bulk of the reward for their hard work and determination instead of record labels, who have a long history of maximizing profits at their expense.
Over the past 5 years artists have also seen a rise in revenue earned from recorded music, again despite the decline in revenue earned from recorded music by labels.
So it seems the real harm of P2P all along has been to record labels and not artists, and the figures come from none other than the music industry itself!
It’s part of the increasing number of studies that have proven the harm to music artists is greatly exaggerated if not nonexistent, and all of which the music industry tries so hard to discredit.
My personal favorite is the “The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study For Industry Canada.” Commissioned by Industry Canada, a ministry of the Canadian federal government, back in 2007, it includes some of the most extensive surveying ever done 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.”
Researchers found that for every 12 illegally downloaded songs using P2P, music purchases increase by 0.44 CDs. Trying to discredit an official Canadian govt study is a pretty tall order, perhaps that’s why they usually do so in general terms and not specifically.
If that wasn’t enough there’s theBI 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’s especially important the UK govt takes note as it contemplates a proposal to disconnect illegal file-sharers from the Internet.