59% of Swedish Musicians Have Engaged in Illegal File-Sharing

Despite economic losses caused to the music industry a majority of music artists get their music just like the rest of us – via P2P.

Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan recently conducted a survey in which 100 musicians were asked 5 questions related to the practice of illegal file-sharing. What makes the survey interesting is that it’s a rare glimpse into the minds of music artists who always seem to be absent in the debate. The only sides we ever seem to hear from are the record industry or of course the occasional accused file-sharer. Rarely do we hear from music artists nor of their listening habits or behavior.

NIN frontman Trent Reznor previously admitted to being a regular user of OiNK, the long shuttered music dedicated BitTorrent tracker site, but he is the rare example of a music artist to have come forward and profess a habit of using P2P and file-sharing services to obtain music.

Among the findings of survey participants:

  • 59% have used illegal P2P or file-sharing services to obtain music.
  • 38% want to legalize file-sharing.

Some of the older, more established music artists in favor of file-sharing decriminalization rightly see the digital medium as a means of promotion for their music rather than a threat.

“One can see file sharing as a form of promotion, a means of releasing new music,” a participant noted.

Also interesting is that some musicians responded by pointing out that they never really made much money from music sales anyways, that they mainly earn a living from radio, TV , and film.

Something I’ve pointed out previously is that of a typically priced $16.98 USD CD here in the US an artist receives a mere $2 bucks. Most of the profits go to retailers and record label coffers. Live performance have long been where music artists earn their real money and so it’s no wonder that 38% of them want to see it legalized.

“Now file sharing is positive and good PR. If we were to become a bit bigger then it would have a negative impact,” said one pop musician in the survey.

With 59% of them using file-sharing services themselves it ought to make future file-sharing debates an interesting one since a majority of “starving artists” seem to be behaving just like everybody else. Unlike the record labels who represent them and claim to always have their best interests in mind Swedish musicians seem to have embraced the future of music distribution.

[Via the Local]