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17,000 Downloads Does Not Equal 17,000 Lost Sales

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the channeling-captain-obvious dept.

The Courts 398

Andrew_Rens writes "Ars Technica has a story on a ruling by a US District Judge who rejects claims by the RIAA that the number of infringing downloads amounts to proof of the same number of lost sales. The judge ruled that 'although it is true that someone who copies a digital version of a sound recording has little incentive to purchase the recording through legitimate means, it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.' The ruling concerns the use of the criminal courts to recover alleged losses for downloading through a process known as restitution. The judgement does not directly change how damages are calculated in civil cases."

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398 comments

Exactly right! (4, Funny)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528869)

I have like ~1,000 albums downloaded. Would I have the money to buy 1,000 albums? Hell no. Not unless I sold all my possessions.

Download != Lost Sale

Re:Exactly right! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528933)

Kike, kike, weasel-like,
Scheming since a hooknosed tyke,
Counts his pennies day and night,
Squeals if one rolls out of sight,
Promotes a thousand social ills,
For which you'll have to foot the bills
Eventually, in love he falls,
And weds a schrew who swipes his balls,
Soon this pair of whining scum,
Will beat their breasts just like a drum,
And lie about the loved ones lost,
In a myth they call "The Holocaust",
Coarse and pushy, greedy and trite...
Beware the Jewish Parasite!

Re:Exactly right! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528943)

Coon, coon, black baboon,
Brutal, worthless, thieving goon,
Often high, thrives in jail,
His welfare check is in the mail,
Some 40 offspring had been had,
Not one will ever call him dad,
And yet he hollers day and night:
"I blames de white man fo my plight!
It's him spreads trash all round my shack!
It's him what makes me smoke dis crack!
He push my kind to burn and loot,
And sends de po-lice dat we shoot!
But inch by inch we takin' hold,
Like when de white bread starts to mold,
We'll overrun yo homes and soon-
Dey be only fit fo de blackassed coon!"

Does not affect civil cases!! (2, Insightful)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529217)

It's important to note that this decision does not directly affect the thousands of civil cases that the RIAA has launched against accused copyright violators. Dove was convicted as a criminal copyright offender where restitution is a consideration, while the RIAA's civil suits can ask for monetary damages determined on an entirely different scale.

Re:Exactly right! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529739)

How many blowjobs from the Grand Dragon is that worth?

Re:Exactly right! (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528947)

I have like ~1,000 albums downloaded. Would I have the money to buy 1,000 albums? Hell no. Not unless I sold all my possessions.

RIAA: That'll be $7220 in "restitution", plus $750,000 minimum in statutory damages. Or you can just use the suicide booth down the hall; if you make a statement as you enter to the effect that "this is what happens to downloaders", we won't hound your family for more than half of the judgement.

Re:Exactly right! (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529245)

I'd quietly disappear if RIAA issued that ruling against me. The next time you would hear from me is on CNN, as the man who killed RIAA's CEO aka Tyrant. I am not a slave to the RIAA CEO or any other man. My forefathers were slaves, but I will not be. I will kill rather than utter the phase "yes masser" again.

>>>'it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.'

Also: Just because something is downloaded does not mean it is a lost sale, since some of the shows I've downloaded (Monk, Rome, Sopranos, Shield) I later purchased on DVD. I believe in supporting the actors, writers, and staff when they create a good show.

Re:Exactly right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529281)

just so I hve you right.

buying stuff == slave?

Re:Exactly right! (1, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529443)

Are you one of those trolls trying to imply that black people cannot help themselves but steal?

Or are you simply mistaken that something which comes to pass as a result of your decision to download stuff for free is the same as being a slave?

Your forefathers are turning in their graves.

Re:Exactly right! (0)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529709)

Let's hook them up to generators and call it a renewable source of power!

Re:Exactly right! (1)

Marc Desrochers (606563) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529757)

I will kill rather than utter the phase "yes masser" again.

Again? When was the list time YOU uttered that phrase?

Re:Exactly right! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529949)

Especially for you: http://pictureposter.audiworld.com/126184/internet_tough_guy_magazine.jpg

Re:Exactly right! (2, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528951)

I thought they reasoned that a copy was more than one lost sale.

Like 30 songs = shared to plenty of people = possible 3000 downloads and lost sales.

So 1000 albums according to RIAA would probably mean you're stealing one million album sales from them, your thief! :D

So just pay back the 15 million dollars you own them thanks to your piracy and it's all fine! :D

Re:Exactly right! (5, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529045)

That got shot down [cnet.com] ; a judge ruled that just having the file available for download did not constitute damages unless there was proof that that file had been downloaded.

Re:Exactly right! (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529863)

Watch the RIAA completely ignore that ruling in the next lawsuit, and hope that the judge does not know about it.

So GP is still right.

Re:Exactly right! (3, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529147)

There are some differences between what you're talking about and the actual situation in the article.

This person is actually the operator of a torrent site, not a peer. He's already received fines and prison time for the sharing others have done using his site. The RIAA/MPAA asked for restitution in addition, which is based on actual damages. (The typical sky-high figures are fines and statutory damages.)

Re:Exactly right! (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528997)

Download != Lost Sale

This is especially true for me, since I always check RIAA Radar [riaaradar.com] before purchasing an album. If it's an RIAA artist, then they don't get any money.

Re:Exactly right! (4, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529623)

See, I think you are part of the problem in this. On one hand, you say the RIAA doesn't deserve money from you. On the other, you illegally download their creations, sending a clear message that you have some demand for what they offer. If you want the RIAA to go away, just ignore them, and everything they create. While people download their stuff, they can justifiably whine about people ripping them off (because even though 17,000 downloads != 17,000 lost sales, it's also true that 17,000 downloads != 0 lost sales).

Re:Exactly right! (5, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529773)

See, I think you are part of the problem in this.

That may be true, but I really don't care. You'll never get a large enough group of people to boycott, so my feeling is that the best way I can contribute to their demise is to spread their product to all who want it, for free.

While people download their stuff, they can justifiably whine about people ripping them off

I don't care if they feel or sound justified. I just want them to make less money. The fact is that I can download their stuff for free with little chance of repercussions, and I can show others how to do the same. It's already forced them to change quite a bit... DRM free music from all the major studios - wow, what a difference a few years of bloodletting makes!

Re:Exactly right! (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529981)

You seem to care for someone who claims to not care. Otherwise you wouldn't take the time or go out of your way to find our if someone is an RIAA artist before deciding to purchase or not. And you are the exact person the RIAA is getting ripped off by (whether you think you are or not).

You are justifying their actions; they do not need to justify them any other way.

Re:Exactly right! (2, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529003)

Exactly. Most of the music I have I have purchased as CDs in the past or bought as single tracks online. The music I have copied is music I never would've bought for myself. Those aren't lost sales. They were never going to be sales in the first place. I only have it because it cost me nothing so it didn't hurt to check it out. I still buy music that I am seriously interested in.

Their arguement is like someone discovering how to copy a Rolls Royce for free. Suddenly all the millions of Rolls Royces on the road being driven by people of modest means represent lost sales?

Re:Exactly right! (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529359)


So perhaps it would be fairer to say that 17,000 downloads only equals 5,000 lost sales, for example. Would that be sufficient grounds for concern? It's ludicrous to take the statement that 17,000 downloads doesn't equal 17,000 lost sales (well, duh!) and then swing to the other extreme and use it as an argument to say that piracy isn't causing lost sales. I know few people these days that actually pay for music or movies, but they certainly would if they couldn't download them. They'll say so themselves quite openly!

And what of the people who do pay for music? Are they happy to be subsidizing all the others that do not?

Re:Exactly right! (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529785)

It's ludicrous to take the statement that 17,000 downloads doesn't equal 17,000 lost sales (well, duh!) and then swing to the other extreme and use it as an argument to say that piracy isn't causing lost sales.

Without any evidence to show that the net result is lost sales, you can't say that that's the case. The error in your assertion above is that you assume that the range we're looking at starts at "zero lost sales" and goes to "X number of lost sales, where X == number of MP3's in someone's download directory". Given that all we have to go on is anecdotal evidence, and that a non-zero number of anecdotes demonstrate that some downloads result in a sale that otherwise would not have happened, we are looking at a range of "X number of lost sales" to "X number of additional sales". Any claim that the number is known to be positive or negative must be accompanied by evidence from a controlled study. The true nature of reality is determined by scientific principles, not nebulous claims prefaced by "everybody knows..."

Re:Exactly right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26530003)

(posting anonymously because I obviously have the unpopular, torches-and-pitchforks-opposition-style opinion)

Exactly. Most of the music I have I have purchased as CDs in the past or bought as single tracks online. The music I have copied is music I never would've bought for myself. Those aren't lost sales. They were never going to be sales in the first place.

So how does that make it right? That's my issue with all this. Your argument seems to boil down to "If I like them and they want money, I'll give them money and grab their work. If I don't like them and they want money, I'll still grab their work anyway."

In my opinion, if the artist agreed to go through RIAA channels and/or charge money for the use of their product and you disagree with that and/or don't feel it's worth the money, then don't get the product. Then you help send a message that no, you don't think this is worth your cash and/or you don't think RIAA-backed artists are worth anything at all.

Right now, all you're saying is that yes, there's a demand for this product and you're in on it to the point of helping advertise it by distributing it (either by putting it back on file-sharing networks or playing it for your friends), sending a message that we want MORE of this, AND you're being a jerk regardless by ignoring the way they implied you getting hold of it*. Which, to me, seems strongly counterproductive. You're helping more crap get made AND providing more of an incentive for the RIAA to chase people.

So, sorry, but my opinion's one you've probably heard a million times and hate hearing: Your options are to either support artists that actually DO release their work for free and ignore the old-media crowd, sending a message that there IS a business plan in this, other artists SHOULD release more samples for free, and the old plan's failing; or you pay the piper. Metaphorically or literally, in case you listen to pipe music.

*: Yes, I know, said implication isn't spelled out in triplicate on official parchment and it didn't have your proper name on it and you didn't sign it in blood with ten witnesses and a notary public and there's no disclaimers on the CDs or music files or music itself and you can claim a hojillion other technicalities, no, sorry, you're still a jerk.

Re:Exactly right! (0, Redundant)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529089)

Re:Exactly right! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529957)

Piracy doesn't steal physical items, but it is still treating the artist like a slave - he's working to entertain you, but not getting paid for his labor.

Re:Exactly right! Nope you're wrong (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529173)

Doesn't matter what a judge rules, the action speaks for itself.

At the time the illegal download is completed it immediately counts as a lost sale. Everything else after the illegal download is completed is pure speculation and doesn't reduce the damages, because the sale was still lost at the time the download was completed.

It's fundamentally the same thing as someone shoplifting, but then later buying the same item they stole. At the time of the shoplifting, the stolen item represents a lost sale.

Just because its digital doesn't mean its not stealing. The product, in the case of digital music, is a combination of both the media it is on (CD or DVD) plus the actual tracks stored on the media. Thus, illegally downloading even one track is still more than just copyright violation, it's THEFT.

Re:Exactly right! Nope you're wrong (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529239)

AhAhaH Welcome RIAA representative :) Completed download = free publicity, visibility. If it's good many will buy it. If it's poor then they won't sell any. It's not being a THEFT, it's being WISE :P

Re:Exactly right! Nope you're wrong (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529273)

If you really think every illegal download constitutes a lost sale and that the downloader would have purchased the music legally if they weren't able to get it illegally...

You're an idiot.

Re:Exactly right! Nope you're wrong (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529331)

So how does that work if someone downloads two songs from the same album?

Is that one lost sale or two?

Lost sale != total loss (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529393)

If you had read the ruling, you'd have noticed that this judge seems to be smart enough to realize that, even assuming a sale was lost, the amount the victims lost is not the same as the sale price.

The price of sale is equal to cost + profit. If a CD costing $10 is shoplifted instead of sold, the seller loses $10. If a CD is downloaded illegally, the seller may claim he lost a sale, but he cannot claim he lost the CD he had to produce and deliver to the store at a price. He still has the CD to sell, at a profit, to another customer.

I wonder what the reaction would be if a judge told the RIAA this: "OK, you lost a million sales. You can get $10 million in restitution, under the condition that you manufacture and deliver one million CDs to the defendant, who is free to sell those CDs at whatever price he can get".

Re:Exactly right! Nope you're wrong (1)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529831)

At the time the illegal download is completed it immediately counts as a lost sale.

Yes and no. The owner of the rights to the song isn't necessarily out of something. In that sense it's very different than shoplifting. Let's say I have a favorite song I really want you to hear. You aren't interested. I insist and actually email you the song (or send you a link and beg you to download it). If you download it, has the record company lost a sale from that download? I'd argue they haven't lost anything. In fact, I may have given them free advertising. If you like the song you may buy it. I'm not saying that they don't lose anything from downloads, but there are certainly situations where people download songs they wouldn't buy, so a download isn't automatically a lost sale.

Re:Exactly right! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529261)

Download != Lost Sale

Download == some fraction of a Lost Sale. How big a fraction exactly is only relevant for grandstanding, that both RIAA and its foes engage in.

The reality remains, that some sales are lost due to illegal downloading, and that the victims are entitled to compensation. Including punitive [wikipedia.org] monies — to not only compensate for the loss itself, but to punish the thieves (yes, thieves).

Re:Exactly right! (2, Interesting)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529499)

The reality remains, that some sales are lost due to illegal downloading, and that the victims are entitled to compensation.

The reality remains that some sales are gained due to illegal downloading. If those sales outweigh the sales lost, how are punitive measures justified?

Re:Exactly right! (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529779)

By the law saying you're not allowed to share that music?

Your crappy music is not worth its iTunes price (3, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528885)

That is the best way to summarize a very good share of "illegal" mp3 downloads.

Re:Your crappy music is not worth its iTunes price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529279)

Its not your decision what they should charge for their "crappy" music.

Your choice is to buy, or not to buy.

Right now, you temporarily have the smug 3rd choice of "copy/share/illegally acquire/whatever-else-you-call-it-to-avoid-feeling-like-a-thief". But you won't always have that option.

Re:Your crappy music is not worth its iTunes price (1)

cloakable (885764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529745)

Um yes, yes you will.

Re:Your crappy music is not worth its iTunes price (2, Informative)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529849)

That's a pant load.

Of course we get to decide - everyone does.

The vendor gets to decide what they think the product is worth.

If we disagree, we don't buy.

Whether or not we then illegally download a copy is an entirely different matter.

DROVES of people have already made the determination that the Itunes prices are excessive and aren't buying.

In most cases, it's the drm and not the music/cost that people object to.

It's ok though. Itunes isn't the only, or remotely the best, place to purchase digital music.

Re:Your crappy music is not worth its iTunes price (3, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529721)

Try this one instead:

"I don't want to pay the iTunes price"

These are the ones that make up most of the lost sales.

And do they factor in (3, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528911)

The albums I've bought that I wouldn't otherwise have had I not been able to download and try it first? I buy MORE albums now that I did before Napster et al opened my ears to new artists and songs.

Re:And do they factor in (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529247)

I have purchased some albums multiple times due to loss, wear, theft, etc. For example, I have purchased the Back in Black album by AC|DC 6 times: 1 LP, 3 Cassettes, and 2 CDs. When the last CD got scratched beyond repair, I said the heck with it and downloaded the songs. Now, technically, doing that was illegal. But seriously, how many times should I have to purchase the same music?

Re:And do they factor in (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529345)

I don't even play my CDs (and I do have a few, legally obtained). I don't have a CD player other than my computer, and I import all my CDs to my digital audio library on that. I don't ever have to shuffle discs and I won't risk damaging the originals.

Re:And do they factor in (2, Funny)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529829)

But seriously, how many times should I have to purchase the same music?

As many times as it takes before you learn to take care of your music. ;)

Re:And do they factor in (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529639)

I actually tend to like web radio services like Pandora and Last.fm better for that sort of thing, but I definitely appreciate being able to listen to an entire album before I buy it, and the record companies have zero stake in allowing that to happen.

Common sense prevails! (5, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528929)

I'm with the Judge on this one! Even when I first started downloading music on Napster, I often wanted to get a better perspective of a particular musician or group before purchasing CDs or going to a concert. There are a lot of artists out there whose music I enjoy that I would not have if I had not downloaded their music. Much in the same way as listening to the radio -- except that, thanks to major corporations buying out all the radio stations in the country, that media is now dead. Sadly, the music industry neither has accepted this, nor have they embraced the new media (internet). Hopefully, they'll eventually realize that you can't sustain an entire industry based on income from lawsuits alone, and get with the times. If they don't get this, then I say, let 'em die!

Re:Common sense prevails! (1, Interesting)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529081)

Disclaimer: Strictly playing the devil's advocate here, but I propose a thought experiment:

Imagine if you went to the Ford/GM Manufacturing plant, threw 55% the cost of a new car through the window and then stole one of the new cars on the lot. About 40% of the cost of a new vehicle is materials and labor, with another 10% paying for pensions and whatnot for employees, and about 2.5% profit (so they double their profit). The other 50% is engineering, transportation to the dealer, paying the dealer, etc, etc. So the car company doesn't lose out on anything, except the part that I pay for; in fact, they actually just doubled their profit. I suspect that they'd still be pretty pissed off.

A lot of people on slashdot argue that downloading copyrighted material isn't theft, because you aren't denying the record companies the use of what you are accused of stealing. I understand the difference, the car company is selling a physical product, whereas music is much more intangible. But what happens if, in 100 years, we all have nono-assemblers in our garages? Should it be acceptible for me to download the plans to any car I want without paying for the engineering, advertising, and saftey testing? I'm not saying that I'm on the record companies side, just posing a little thought experiment.

=Smidge=

Re:Common sense prevails! (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529309)

in 100 years when we all have nano-assemblers, the best cars will be the ones designed by people doing it for free

Re:Common sense prevails! (1)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529347)

As a matter of fact, yes!

If there really is demand for the music, the artists will get their fair share of money for it.

If the artist would not get any money, he would stop making music and people would complain. Eventually they will figure out that there is no such thing as a free lunch and the artist should get some money, and everyone can be happy again.

If the artist produces only crap, he won't get any money, and thankfully he will stop making any more.

Now, will the (good) artist get as much money as he does nowadays? Most probably not. But he would get the exact market value of his music - and not be overpaid. This system would be far more fair to everyone.

Re:Common sense prevails! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529445)

Should it be acceptible for me to download the plans to any car I want without paying for the engineering, advertising, and saftey testing?

Would you have paid for the plans if they hadn't been available for free?
Are the plans worth the asking price?
Are there free legal plans that you could have used or are the motor company preventing fair competition with patents?
What is the likelihood that you will buy the plans later if you like the car?
Are the motor company just charging to keep a failing business model alive?
Does the general public feel it is wrong to download the plans for free?

Re:Common sense prevails! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529915)

Will your download result in other kinds of sales for the motor company for parts or other items? (a bit like buying the music artist's t-shirt or concert tickets)

Re:Common sense prevails! (1)

not_a_product_id (604278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529795)

It's still a flawed thought experiment. Parent's key point was

"There are a lot of artists out there whose music I enjoy that I would not have if I had not downloaded their music"

There was no *additional* cost to the manufacturers for the music they 'stole' but there was benefit arising from that in the form of the music and tickets they bought

Re:Common sense prevails! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529995)

I'm not saying that I'm on the record companies side, just posing a little thought experiment.

After reading your post, I think the experiment is to gather whether someone has thought at all. Fortunately, you failed the experiment.

Re:Common sense prevails! (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529473)

I'm with the Judge on this one! Even when I first started downloading music on Napster, I often wanted to get a better perspective of a particular musician or group before purchasing CDs or going to a concert. There are a lot of artists out there whose music I enjoy that I would not have if I had not downloaded their music.

You're not with the judge, the judge thinks there's little incentive to buy a song you have downloaded for free. You and I know the opposite is true: We are most likely to buy a CD from an artist we have downloaded than one we have not.

Re:Common sense prevails! (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529495)

The judge said that just because you downloaded it, doesn't mean you would have bought it if you hadn't downloaded it. I didn't see mentioned, but a point I think is equally valid, is that just because you downloaded it, it doesn't mean you didn't ALSO buy it! I found a bunch of MP3s in my collection awhile back from an ancient "lets rip our CDs and pool our music at work" server from the early days of MP3 ripping. I went and deleted the ones I didn't like and bought the ones I did. RIAA's claim doesn't take that into account.

In addition, the RIAA's claim doesn't take into account additional publicity and sales generated from pirating music. Sure, it's illegal, but if you're trying to quantify what would have happened had the infraction not taken place you have to assume less people would be aware of the music and thus there may be fewer legitimate sales.

All in all, any correlation between number of downloads and lost sales is very shaky circumstantial evidence.

1. perform a song (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528937)

2. distribute it online for free
3. make cash via ancillaries: special fan material, concerts, etc.

this is the economic model of the music industry for the future. probably for books and movies too

of course, there is always room for step 1.5: go into contract with a traditional music conglomerate to massively hype your music and reap larger windfalls of ancillary cash. this represents though a radically different business model for the traditional industry stalwarts: promoter. and nothing more. a much smaller financial footprint. oh well

but what there is NO more room for is revised step 2: charge for your music online

yes, itunes is radically successful and profitable. but mainly because it matches a low price point for a useful service: quick download, quality assurance, robust cataloging, easy searching. none of which can't eventually be beaten by competing free services as the riaa and the dead business philosophy it represents fades away

recorded music, from now on, is nothing more than advertising material

advertising material for revenue streams comprised of fan-appreciated ancillary materials and live concerts

Re:1. perform a song (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528973)

Am I dreaming, or do I actually agree with every word of one of circletimessquare's posts?

Re:1. perform a song (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529025)

I wish I had mod point for you.

Re:1. perform a song (1)

xorsyst (1279232) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529203)

I think you're right, which is a shame. There is music out there, really GOOD music, that will not survive in this business model. Fortunately people who like this music are probably the same people out there who allow step 4 to work
4: make money by accepting donations from people who like your music.

wait, what? (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529619)

"I think you're right, which is a shame. There is music out there, really GOOD music, that will not survive in this business model."

could you explain why you think this way?

you apparently believe the pre-internet business model somehow supported quality music. yes, there was plenty of quality music under the pre-internet model

and plenty of crap

i think some starry eyed folks think quality will improve in the internet music business model. no, i believe quality will simply not change. for many reasons, not least of which: quality is completely subjective. i do not think the internet music business model will give us a flood of quality material, it will still give us plenty of crap

but i don't understand this thinking of yours that supposes that quality will go down

what WILL change is that the music world will become heavily fractured. before there were a few fiefdoms in music on a national level: pop, country, rap, etc. that's it. now, there will be a thousandfold such fiefdoms according to genre, but also, a massive new dimension of music fiefdoms: local and microlocal band appreciation will increase a lot due to distribution and networking ease. aficionados of a local new york city band may never hear of a los angeles band, and visa versa, when before, both la and nyc would be exposed to the same bands on radio

additionally, the ability to internationalize will be easier now, so that new york city band will also have a better chance to get a following in auckland and brisbane as well, as effortlessly as it has a chance to get a following in philadelphia. however, what is unknown is how that new york city band will promote in auckland and brisbane. not that in the pre-internet world they had a better ability to do so (unless they were among the rare few bands like oasis or the beatles). but the rare few bands like the oasis or the beatles will come again, and they will not be lost due to the nonexistence of the music conglomerates. no, they will find a way. quality always trickles up. and in fact, there is a lot of money, a new niche, for promotes who sniff out top level local bands that they think can go national and international as well, and make a financial bet by promoting such top shelf local acts, in order to reap the windfall of ancillary cash later

in fact, this model is a lot more democratic than the traditional music conglomerate practice of cherry picking bands according to whim and perceived taste. which means, according to some arguments, better qualit ymusic for all, after all

yes, i'm contradicting what i said before: maybe the internet music distribution model WILL result in better quality music, due to being more democratic than the old corporate model

Re:1. perform a song (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529891)

Maybe it will, once the stranglehold the RIAA has on advertising is broken. Namely radio stations and music channels on TV. All the college radio stations out there playing independent music have proven that this model can work. The station where I used to live did a fund raising drive once a year to cover its costs and almost always ended up with a surplus. The surplus would get recycle back into the community in the form of free tickets to shows or merchandise, with a portion of it being put into a savings account in case they came up short one year. They didn't make millions from advertising like a normal radio station, but they did play a wide variety of good music that would otherwise be ignored by radio.

The crux of this model is that it will work, but only once the old model is dead and buried. In the mean time both models are being stifled by each other, the question is which one will come out on top.

Re:1. perform a song (1)

the4thdimension (1151939) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529269)

If I hadn't already posted and wasn't short a mod point, I would have upped this. You don't even need step 1.5 in most cases. The cost to record music has plummeted. You don't need high profile labels anymore to back your album. You can record it digitally in your basement for a small upfront cost that you never need to pay again. I have heard basement digital recordings that are almost indistinguishable from big-time huge studio recordings.

Re:1. perform a song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529401)

The future of music is music as a service. Basically the music will be used to sell a subscription. You'll subscribe to (say) "Heavy Metal Online" getting you access to the newest music first, special fan material, and discounts on live shows. Artists may eventually be salaried employees under this model. Free music will be used, but quality of that free music will still probably be lower than you would get with a subscription.

The RIAA knows subscriptions are the future. They are just retarded as to how those subscriptions would work (they want "pay per play") and want a price that the market simply won't pay.

Re:1. perform a song (2, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529487)

> probably for books and movies too

I don't think this will apply to books. How many book-related 'special fan material' do you have? To how many book concerts did you go this year?

i guess you never heard of jk rowling (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529835)

she can, and has, made money:

1. reading from her books on stage and other special lectures and appearances
2. selling special signed copies and other unique author-tweaked material (hand drawn artwork, hand written material, etc.)
3. selling rights to hollywood to make a movie
4. selling figurines, MMORPG rights, licensed kids toys...
5. etc., etc., etc.

will jk rowling of the future make as much as jk rowling as the past?

no, not at all. probably a tenth of what jk rowling of the past has made so far. and?

and now we have a new argument: what coherent morality or philosophy dictates that artists, nevermind distributors, have a right to make obscene amounts of money off their works?

of course they deserve SOME remuneration and consideration. and its not like their fame is going away, which is a totally different kind of reward unto itself. ask any musician about female groupies and backstage antics if you don't think fame is another kind of capitalization

but they deserve obscene levels of remuneration? really? so i write a popular song. society now has the responsibility to make my great-grandhcildren millionaires because of that?

that's the current understanding of copyright, and its morally bankrupt. and soon to be economically bankrupt, regardless of current ip law. the internet simply routes around absurd current ip law

Re:1. perform a song (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529813)

The so-called Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead way..

Seems to work so far ;)

Re:1. perform a song (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529823)

recorded music, from now on, is nothing more than advertising material
This is the saddest thing I've read on Slashdot, ever.

It's a simple matter of cost vs benefit. (5, Interesting)

fructose (948996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528955)

This is basic economics. If the perceived cost doesn't outweigh the perceived benefit, then the rational actor won't do something. IOW, if the cost of a song is more than someone thinks it's worth, they won't buy it. But if the cost is effectively zero, then it only takes a small benefit to make it worthwhile to download.

I mean, seriously people. I'm no economics expert, but I did take the required class in high school, and I'm pretty sure that was covered. Do these law degree holding people really think you can ignore basic economics and not expect anyone to realize it?

Re:It's a simple matter of cost vs benefit. (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529301)

Even our economic experts are ignoring basic economics these days, do you really expect lawyers to?

Re:It's a simple matter of cost vs benefit. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529387)

This is basic economics. If the perceived cost doesn't outweigh the perceived benefit, then the rational actor won't do something. IOW, if the cost of a song is more than someone thinks it's worth, they won't buy it. But if the cost is effectively zero, then it only takes a small benefit to make it worthwhile to download.

The RIAA is using the courts to ensure that the cost of downloading a song is far greater than $0.

Yay logic! (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528971)

Saying that there is no necessary relation is a huge step, because it throws the whole question open to interpretation. Given that there isn't a one-to-one correlation, it becomes an issue of individual cases as to how many songs are able to be cited as damages by the plaintiff, which does have a major effect on restitution and final costs (since the labels have been basing their claims on a per song basis).

I can only imagine the indignity of being forced to pay whatever obscene per song is required for some crappy piece of music that you downloaded out of curiosity, hated on first listen, and never deleted.

Re:Yay logic! (1)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529241)

Especially when someone downloads ( part of ) that song from you, listens to it, loves the band and proceeds to buy several singles/albums.

College Students (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528989)

I mean what percentage of illegal downloads are because of poor college kids who have extremely little disposable income or even younger kids who at best have a meager allowance? I think if it wasn't free for me, I just wouldn't be into music much at all.

Furthermore, if illegal music downloads were put to a stop, people who make mp3 players wouldn't be very happy as I am sure their sales would take a huge hit after a huge percentage of their customer base no longer has any music to play.

price per song (1)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529063)

Well there folks if one song is 200,000 then a stolen tractor trailer has to be the same as the national debt. A 99c song is a 99c song court cost and 99c a song all they should get and those who have been charged more should get a refund. Steeling from someone you claim stole from you is fair.

Lost Sales > Downloads (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529153)

Why?

If someone downloaded a song, she could make a backup and if the original song (with her email in it) was accidentally deleted, she still has the backup.

If someone bought a CD, and her dog ate it, she'll have to buy again.

You guys are kidding yourselves if you think that one pirated song equals one lost sales.

Re:Lost Sales Downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529463)

It's cute the way you pretend that the law of supply and demand doesn't exist. Do you make lots of money selling useless widgets in your little fantasy world?

exagerated claims lead to bigger court wins $$$$$$ (3, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529539)

You guys are kidding yourselves if you think that one pirated song equals one lost sales.

I do not think they're kidding themselves; I think they're deliberately fooling others, for fun and profit.

Living proof (4, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529155)

There's one band in particular whose entire discography I downloaded. I couldn't find anyone who has the CDs and the previews on Amazon were insufficient. Within a month, I liked it so much that I wanted to have higher-quality, lossless rips and to support the band, so I bought every album the band, and have bought every one since.

I know I'm certainly in the minority in my desire to support the band for its efforts, but there are more people out there like me.

Re:Living proof (1)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529651)

Hey, I'm one of 'em. Never heard of a band, downloaded an MP3 on a whim, liked it, got a few more, and long story short, I bought all of their CD's.

If I were to suddenly get sued for that, I'd smash the cd's with a hammer and tell people not to listen to them.

Economics 101... (1, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529213)

Demand at $0 < Demand at $14

And they get paid to figure this out?

Re:Economics 101... (4, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529229)

Damn it, got the arrow pointing the wrong way... I was too concerned about getting it to show up at all what with the &lt; and all.

Re:Economics 101... (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529557)

On top of that:
Downloads = Demand + Tasting (which _could_ turn into demand)

Re:Economics 101... (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529633)

Demand at $0 < Demand at $14

And they get paid to figure this out?

Damn it, got the arrow pointing the wrong way... I was too concerned about getting it to show up at all what with the &lt; and all.

Ah, I thought you were making some kind of psychological statement on the general population's attitudes and perception about worth. You know, the reason why your dad has no problem paying $200 for Windows Vista or a monthly bill for McAfee but scoffs when you talk about open-source software.

Re:Economics 101... (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529903)

I'm a musician, and in my friends-circle I've noticed a trend towards this... Everyone ends up buying the special-cool-edition with alternative packaging, extra songs etc.
I think all the attention and lawsuits have pushed CDs out of the "commodity" range and into the "luxury" range - everyone's so pissed off at all the lawsuits that they only buy the stuff they are *really* sure about that they want for years to come.
Everything else gets downloaded, sadly.

It's true... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529227)

I've been saying this for years (as have most of you); the fact is that people who steal music are generally just being cheap and greedy. Cheap and greedy don't by CDs, at least not to the extent they would if they couldn't steam them.

I won't claim no money is lost or the absurdity that the companies actually do better because of copyright infringement, but certainly the damages are no where near what they claim.

I think they should just look the other way, it's probably costing them more to pursue the infringers who are actually costing them money, and it's costing them more for ridiculous DRM schemes that they have to pay royalties for, than they could possibly recoup from those actions.

Re:It's true... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529691)

Afaict thier aim is not to make money from the actual court actions. Instead it is to scare people out of filesharing. It's kinda like the lottery in reverse, filesharing probablly won't cost you anything but if they do decide to pick on you then you are screwed.

Does it work? I'm guessing it probablly does to some extent. Whether it will be enough to save them is another matter.

More judges like these plz (2, Insightful)

the4thdimension (1151939) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529237)

Thank god judges are starting to turn up the heat on the RIAA. We really do need more judges like this presiding over these cases. This judge took a step back and asked, "If someone downloads a song, would that mean there is a lost sale? Not always."

It does not logically follow, by any stretch of the imagination, that a downloaded song is a lost sale. In fact, it may be more logical to conclude that a downloaded song is a gained sale. Maybe not in the sense that I ran to iTunes to download it for $1, but maybe if I liked the song, I went to a concert, or bought a hoodie... both of which put more money in the pocket of the actual artist than the record label.

Record labels eat ~95% of the money taken in by music sales. This means that "supporting the artist by buying their music" is simply wrong. The artist sees almost none of the money from direct music sales. People, if you want to support your favorite artists, buy a shirt or go see a show. They see almost 100% of that money back, minus the cost of the roadie to see it at a show or the venue they held the show at.

this can't be stressed enough (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529753)

put more money in the pocket of the actual artist than the record label.

That predictable outcome is why the record labels are pooling their money for a large campaign of propaganda and litigation/intimidation.

Out of Print (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529259)

There's a lot of major label music you just cannot buy new (which is the only time they get money on a sale).

Lots of film scores are out of print in the US. You can only get them used or as imports.

Sure Patton was an obscure movie with a forgettable soundtrack (sarcasm there folks) but that doesn't mean the only legal way to get a new copy of the original soundtrack (not the re-recording with tora tora tora) should be buying the collector's edition dvd and extracting the soundtrack from the photo-montage on the extras disc.

Up until a few months ago you couldn't get a copy of the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack for under $80 (thank you eMusic, especially for using a good import version!!!). They've finally re-released it as part of a cd set, but they've made changes and omitted some cues which is a big turn off for anyone who knows the original score.

If you (the music labels) want to cut down on illegal music downloads and increase your sales, take a look at all the music that is unavailable (Terminator soundtrack) but widely downloaded and put it up on your own digital distribution system. There's a massive demand you are not fulfilling though people with no economic gain are making the effort to do it for you.

Re:Out of Print (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529939)

the only legal way to get a new copy of the original soundtrack [...] buying the collector's edition dvd and extracting the soundtrack

I'm pretty sure that the in the USA, it's illegal to do that because of the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA.
And elsewhere, the US has been pushing for that to become law (it's one of the strings attached when the US gives emergency aid in case of natural disaster, IIRC).

If you (the music labels) want to cut down on illegal music downloads

They are actively campaigning to make more music downloads illegal. It's control they want, to make sure that the money you have to spend on music goes into THEIR pocket.

but how many sales? (1)

boguslinks (1117203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529361)

17,000 downloads may not equal 17,000 lost sales, but even the most fanatical people here would agree there are probably some lost sales there, right? 100 sales? 500? Maybe even 1,000?

Or do people only download music that they don't particularly like and would not pay for under any circumstances?

Re:but how many sales? (2, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529603)

Of course there are lost sales.

For everyone here claiming they run out and buy the CD when they download something they like, there's going to be hundreds of people that ask themselves why they should buy it when they already have it.

Even if everyone who liked the song bought the CD (or purchased it in some other format), that still doesn't give people the right to infringe on other people's copyrights... if a music company is choking themselves of sales because they won't let you sample the content, that's their decision to make.

Little incentive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529627)

I am fascinated about the fact, that the music industry can sell that much auditive pollutive material.

cb

missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529693)

There's also still /reason/, if not whatever specific definition of "incentive" the judge pulled out of his ass, to purchase other forms of what was downloaded. This also seems to completely ignore "downloading a song because you already own it but want to listen to it elsewhere". Ie: it's not a lost purchase, it's an already-happened purchase.

Just my thoughts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529749)

I wonder how many court cases and lawyers it will require before the RIAA and the other producers realize that they can't stop online piracy. Why can't they just realize that they would make more money by releasing the album themselves either cheaply or free while still gaining income from advertisements. I'm very sure the majority of people won't download illegally if it was almost as cheap to download it legally, such as $2 an album or something. This is one of the only viable ways I can see to combat illegal file sharers without taking almost everyone that even looks at an illegal album to court.

Irony (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529761)

Am I the only one who got an ad for "Free Country Music" along side the PDF?

Yet again (1)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529783)

RIAA wastes time Of US court system because of failure to attend 2nd grade and learn that if all doodads are thingamabobs that doesn't mean that all thingamabobs are doodads.

again, it must be said that sales != revenue (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529855)

my point is that even if I downloaded songs and 'liked the artist' enough to buy more, I am still more likely to buy USED cd's on amazon than new ones.

first, I control the mp3 quality and encode process (or even flac). second, I know that NONE of my money is going to the riaa or mpaa for movies.

this is the elephant in the room that no one talks about: used cd and dvd sales NEVER 'help' the artist yet they are 100% legal.

we have to get away from the whole 'if its not good for the artist, its not good for anyone' thinking. its just wrong. downloading doesn't hurt artists anymore than used cd's hurt them. or help them. the x-axis doesn't "help" the y-axis either - they are different things that have no inherent correlation.

until 'first sale doctrine' is updated, I refuse to believe the industry in ANYTHING they say about sales, right/wrong or how things 'should' be in some new model they are hoping for.

as long as I can buy used cd's - I will continue to ignore the industry and its crying about 'fairness'.

#irc.trooltalk.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529911)

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