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Study: Piracy Doesn't Harm Digital Media Sales

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the millions-of-internet-goers-suddenly-feel-justified dept.

Piracy 173

r5r5 writes "European Commission's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies has published a study which concludes that the impact of piracy on the legal sale of music is virtually nonexistent or even slightly positive. The study's results suggest that Internet users do not view illegal downloading as a substitute for legal digital music and that a 10% increase in clicks on illegal downloading websites leads to a 0.2% increase in clicks on legal purchase websites. Online music streaming services are found to have a somewhat larger (but still small) effect on the purchases of digital sound recordings, suggesting a complementary relationship between these two modes of music consumption. According to the results, a 10% increase in clicks on legal streaming websites leads to up to a 0.7% increase in clicks on legal digital purchase websites." It's worth noting that this study only measured the effect of piracy on online purchases, not on revenue from physical formats.

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This was proven years ago... (0)

realsilly (186931) | about a year and a half ago | (#43216979)

... as I recall.

Re:This was proven years ago... (3, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217009)

For example, just because some people steal cars doesn't mean that I am not going to buy a car. It's all very deep.

correlation/causation (3, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217097)

a 10% increase in clicks on illegal downloading websites leads to a 0.2% increase in clicks on legal purchase websites

uh oh, cue the correlation/causation nazis. ok, i'll go first. just cuz thy measured a 10% increase in pirate clicks and an 0.2% increase in legal purchase clicks doesn't mean there is a connection. Heck, perhaps if there had been fewer pirate clicks then there would have been more legal clicks! Also, what the heck is a click? shouldnt the metric be downloads or purchases?

Re:correlation/causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217137)

Yup. Legally streaming leads to 0.7% increase, and illegally downloading to a 0.2% increase - but this is actually a 0.5% decrease because otherwise they would all get Pandora accounts and then buy media! Clearly!

Re:correlation/causation (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217169)

By click do they mean click or download?

Interesting data, but doesn't support conclusion (3, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217865)

Yeah. Their data does not support their conclusions.

First, note that their conclusion was that there is "essentially zero" correlation between illegal downloads and legal downloads. The correlation they found (for every 100 people who illegally download, 2 of them will go on to legally download the music) is insignificant (and "essentially zero" is their phrase, not mine.)

What they don't measure, though, is what would have been purchased if pirate downloads had not been available. They do say, however, that 20% of the people who clicked on pirate download sites never went to legal download sites, not ever once. If even one in ten of these people would have bought a legal download if they couldn't get the illegal one, that would wash out their 0.2 percent positive correlation entirely, not even thinking about the remaining 80% who sometimes looked at legal sites but ended up downloading from pirate sites. What fraction would have bought music legally if pirate downloads weren't available? I don't know-- but neither do they.

Re:Interesting data, but doesn't support conclusio (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217981)

If even one in ten of these people would have bought a legal download if they couldn't get the illegal one, that would wash out their 0.2 percent positive correlation entirely

Right. It's all a wash.

So now can we please just stop all the nonsense and have the RIAA leave people alone?

Re:Interesting data, but doesn't support conclusio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218013)

What they don't measure, though, is what would have been purchased if pirate downloads had not been available.

I propose we should establish another world, identical to ours, as a control group. "What if" questions are difficult to measure.

Re:Interesting data, but doesn't support conclusio (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218053)

you know why people don't even bother anymore to try buying stuff anymore?

Because the "pirate" download is easier, sometimes faster, and, especially in the case of videos, earlier and better (meaning without all these traillers, fbi screens on the beginning etc).

Besides, the industry only moved their slow butts for two reasons: this piracy they speak of and apple. If they could, they would be selling nicki minaj crap por 30 dollars each song.

Re:correlation/causation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217945)

just cuz thy measured a 10% increase in pirate clicks and an 0.2% increase in legal purchase clicks doesn't mean there is a connection.

I agree. There is no connection between piracy and music industry profits.

So now can we just stop the nonsense?

Re:This was proven years ago... (1, Funny)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217109)

What? People steal cars? I better DRM mine.

Re:This was proven years ago... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217257)

Digital Ride Management?

Distance Reaction Mine (1)

denzacar (181829) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218105)

Car moves too far from your home without you in it - it goes BOOM!
You don't need to worry about police or insurance either.
Mine's packaging is covered in Arabic so it all looks like a terrorist car bomb gone bad.

Re:This was proven years ago... (4, Insightful)

SpaceMonkies (2868125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217205)

Piracy's real effect on music sales is difficult to accurately assess. In classical economics prices are determined by the combination of the forces of supply and demand, but the participators in the digital market do not always follow the usual motives and behaviors of the supply and demand system. First, the cost of digital distribution has decreased significantly from the costs of distribution by former methods. Furthermore, the majority of the filesharing community will distribute copies of music for a zero price in monetary terms, and there are some consumers who are willing to pay a certain price for legitimate copies even when they could just as easily obtain pirated copies, such as with pay what you want vendors.
Another issue is that because some people, like many in China, illegally download music because they cannot afford to purchase legitimate copies, not every illegal download necessarily equates to a lost sale. This has some effect on music sales, but as Lawrence Lessig points out, there is wide asymmetry between the estimated volume of illegal downloading and the projected loss of sales:
“In 2002, the RIAA reported that CD sales had fallen by 8.9 percent, from 882 million to 803 million units; revenues fell 6.7 percent. This confirms a trend over the past few years. The RIAA blames Internet piracy for the trend, though there are many other causes that could account for this drop. SoundScan, for example, reports a more than 20 percent drop in the number of CDs released since 1999. That no doubt accounts for some of the decrease in sales... But let’s assume the RIAA is right, and all of the decline in CD sales is because of Internet sharing. Here’s the rub: In the same period that the RIAA estimates that 803 million CDs were sold, the RIAA estimates that 2.1 billion CDs were downloaded for free. Thus, although 2.6 times the total number of CDs sold were downloaded for free, sales revenue fell by just 6.7 percent... So there is a huge difference between downloading a song and stealing a CD."

Re:This was proven years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217349)

Why do I suspect that those with the 2.1 billion downloaded CDs would be listening to the radio instead of purchasing a CD if downloading them was not an option.

Re:This was proven years ago... (2, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217751)

Why do I suspect that those with the 2.1 billion downloaded CDs would be listening to the radio instead of purchasing a CD if downloading them was not an option.

You're exactly right. All of the Media Cartel's claims of lost revenue are based on a fallacy - that every song/movie downloaded equals a lost sale. No matter how many times this is shown to be false, they keep repeating the same lie over and over. Considering the number of times that the Record/TV/Movie companies have cheated artists out of money, this is not surprising.

Re:This was proven years ago... (2)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217763)

Possibly... that's why GP said the effect is "difficult to accurately assess."

If downloading was to suddenly vanish. If, hypothetically, tomorrow all of Pirate Bay dried up and every other illegal method for obtaining music ceased to be... what would the actual effects be? Would all of those people go start buying CDs? Would they just get free accounts on Pandora/Slacker/etc? Or do those people already have accounts on free streaming sites? If I were a music downloader, I'd still listen to the radio from time to time, if only to help discover new artists.

Certainly some of the displaced pirates would buy a few albums. Possibly virtually via itunes or amazon. And that possibility is what RIAA/MPAA clings to. The possibility that if 1 pirate could be forced to buy through legal means, then clearly they ALL can be convinced. They just need a harder nudge.

Re: This was proven years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218059)

If online piracy were to stop tomorrow, we'd all just go back to borrowing each other's CDs and ripping them to our computers.

Re:This was proven years ago... (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218037)

In classical economics prices are determined by the combination of the forces of supply and demand

Let me know if you run into any of those classical economies. The one we're in is anything but.

"Supply and demand" are relics of the Industrial Revolution. Few of the really big industries (and especially ones that have to do with virtual property) show any "supply and demand" effect any more. And what constitutes "supply" when you're talking about digital information? I assure you, there has never been a shortage of people making music. And there's no shortage of ones and zeros, so... by my back of the envelope calculations, the actual retail price of an mp3 of a pop song should be much closer to $.0001 than to $.99.

Re:This was proven years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217517)

I doubt this can be conclusively proven, but yes, some [slashdot.org] previous studies [slashdot.org] have suggested [slashdot.org] the same thing [slashdot.org] .

Re:This was proven years ago... (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217645)

... as I recall.

A few years ago I found a magazine article about music "piracy" from 1981. Back in those days most of the technology we use today didn't exist. Almost no one had a computer, there was no Internet (as we know it today), etc.

The villain back then, according to the RIAA was cassette tape recorders -- people were making tapes of their friends albums rather than buying them. So the RIAA commissioned a study that they hoped to take to Congress to convince them that they needed new laws to combat this terrible problem. But the report was shelved and never widely publicized because it showed that people who owned high end cassette decks, on average, bought 75% more albums than people who didn't.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

A bit late (2)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about a year and a half ago | (#43216991)

Too bad EA didn't get the memo in time.

Re:A bit late (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217079)

Yes, but they also want to make sure you can't sell it later, and keep you from getting refunded by retaining the power to remove your license at any time.

EA wasn't out to stop pirates, they were out to manipulate and screw over the customers.

Re:A bit late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217471)

Hmm in a bizarre way yes. Think about this a 'pirate' is not a customer. They are someone who by definition will not give you money. Who has money they are willing to part with? A customer. "monetize every behavior" and you will make money. Up until recently that monetization has been sale of a box with discs in it. Now they can slice it into 'micro-transactions' and still sell you the box (sometimes not even that). Some boxes come with a disc even. But a little sticker inside that unlocks the download anyway... Meaning you can not even give something you buy away, if it has been used.

Re:A bit late (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217647)

As far as used game sales, they already had that. No one sells used PC games, gamestop doesn't take physical copies used, they haven't for years, there's as of yet no way to transfer purchases on Steam or Origin.

Perhaps they were planning on shutting down the servers when the next sim city came out, forcing you to buy the new version. That I could see.

Re:A bit late (2)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217951)

Or ban you from completely unrelated services.

Apparently EA threatens to ban you from Origin if you try to dispute a purchase of simcity

and (4, Insightful)

Master Moose (1243274) | about a year and a half ago | (#43216993)

the recording industries will simply stick their fingers in their ears whilst singing "nanananananana"

Re:and (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217125)

BATMAN!!!

(random text in caps so slashcode doesn't freak out)

Re:and (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217259)

Do you a license to reproduce these lyrics?

Re:and (2)

broggyr (924379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217325)

I never a license.

Re:and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217387)

I accidentally a whole license.

Re:and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217839)

I accidentally the whole thing. Is it bad? :(

Re:and (1)

denzacar (181829) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218141)

Lie senses are tingling.

Re:and (1)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217429)

You now owe money for a public performance of the Beetles "Hey Jude".

Re:and (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217491)

And for this to be aesthetically correct, you should demand some sum that he cannot pay even in 10 lifetimes and which will completely destroy his life. :P

Re:and (2, Funny)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217525)

You now owe money for a public performance of the Beetles "Hey Jude".

Beetles - greatest band in history. Where were you when John Lemmon was shot?

Re:and (1, Offtopic)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217821)

John Lemmon was shot?!

Re:and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217909)

Wait, was he Jack Lemmon's son?

As for the Beetles, we never had one. Our family was strictly domestic cars, besides Beetles were invented by Hitler!

Re:and (2)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217827)

Oh, I had totally forgotten that Kylie Minogue song...

Correlation does not imply causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217001)

Correlation does not imply causation.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217181)

I do not think that implies to a negative. You cannot say, well we did not see and correlation, but their might still be causation.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217231)

He didn't imply that it implies to a negative.

Only when file sharing is illegal. (1, Interesting)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217017)

I'm not defending MAFIAA in any way, but just want to point out, that the study was conducted under circumstances when file sharing is illegal.

If it becomes legal, it may very well impact the sales in a negative way. Bottom line: interesting study, no practical applications.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (5, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217107)

Don't spread the MAFIAA's FUD for them. File sharing is already legal. "File sharing" and "copyright infringement" are not the same thing.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217241)

how, exactly, is shagg's comment "insightful?"

1. the idea that "file sharing is already legal" is a meaningless statement. it's like saying that "driving a car is legal." yes, it's legal on roads for licensed drivers. it is not legal to drive through a busy shopping mall a la blues brothers.

2. 'file sharing' and 'copyright infringment' are not the same thing. who said they are? however, in the USA, "sharing" of copyrighted music and film, for example, for all but a very limited set of exceptions as defined in fair use and as the vast majority of 'file transactions' in practice are, is very much are copyright infringement.

i fail to see anything 'insightful' in shagg's comments. at best he's shooting down linguistic strawmen of his own creation - at worst, he's flat our wrong.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217375)

Your comment is valid, but his is also valid if you considering parent comment. Parent comment mentioned "file sharing", while Shagg answered that it's not file sharing that's illegal, it's copyright infringement.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217389)

The "straw man" is the G-GP, which stated

file sharing is illegal

GP was correcting this. His correction offers insight into the nature of the debate over the effects of copyright infringement through file-sharing. So to answer your question

who said they are

the answer is that SolitaryMan did.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (3, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217699)

Shagg's comment is valid because the MPAA and RIAA don't seem able to make the distinction.

If I rip a DVD that I purchased to a computer I own, that could be considered file sharing. The DVD has shared the file with the computer, but I have not infringed a copyright. If I transfer that digital copy to my tablet or smartphone so that I can watch it during a flight, also file sharing, still not infringing.

If I use the copy on my computer to burn physical DVDs and begin selling them, THAT is a copyright infringement

The powers that be, via DMCA, seek to outlaw all of these practices, and many more.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217855)

2. 'file sharing' and 'copyright infringment' are not the same thing. who said they are?

Um, the MAFIAA, for one.

If Shagg's comment isn't insightful, yours is of less value than a fart in space.

Legal to share (4, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217303)

Don't spread the MAFIAA's FUD for them. File sharing is already legal. "File sharing" and "copyright infringement" are not the same thing.

Indeed. And there is a lot of music available which is either in the Public Domain, or under one of the Creative Commons licenses. For instance, excellent recent recordings of classical music were released as 320kbps MP3 [archive.org] and as lossless tracks [archive.org] , and these are explicitly in the Public Domain. Lots more (typically electronic & rock & metal & house, etc.) can be found at the Netlabels [archive.org] collections. MusOpen [musopen.org] typically has classical music, and also has some PD or CC sheet music.

Share away, with these files. Upload, download, give away, stream, sell, whatever. And quite legally. Just about the only thing you can't do with Public Domain stuff is claim that you own the copyright, or that you act on behalf of the copyright owner. Either copyright has expired, or it was never copyrighted to begin with.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (5, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217113)

I'm not defending MAFIAA in any way, but just want to point out, that the study was conducted under circumstances when file sharing is illegal.

If it becomes legal, it may very well impact the sales in a negative way. Bottom line: interesting study, no practical applications.

This doesn't necessarily mean that sharing music should become legal, it just means that it shouldn't be life-ruiningly-illegal. Speeding is illegal, but if you get caught you just get a small fine and life goes on. They don't fine you more than 10x your yearly income and stick you with legal fees that could bankrupt CEOs.

Re:Only when file sharing is illegal. (2)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217693)

I agree, and I can't understand why the media industries haven't pushed for this sort of thing.

If Jammie Thomas had been fined $100 then she would have had no sympathy. It would deter a lot of people. A lot of people would take the risk, but the same happens with illegal parking. We only need to keep the problem manageable. There would be issues in that we'd need some sort of appeals mechanism and wouldn't want to cause too much hassle for the false positives, or make it too easy for a media company to churn out notices like they do with the DMCA.

Only commercial piracy should be illegal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217833)

Everyone understands that it's wrong when a commercial outfit pirates and sells music or films for their own profit. Only they themselves would object to it being illegal.

But non-commercial media sharing is in a very different category to that. The sharing that kids do on the Internet is just today's counterpart to what we used to do as kids back in the day, copy our records onto cassette tape for our friends, and it's certainly not criminal activity.

It was free promotion back then, and it's free promotion now when done on the Internet too. The labels should be overjoyed that promotion is being done for them, for free. Once fans become fans, they will end up buying the official versions too, because that's what fans do. But without the free initial exposure, they won't become fans in the first place.

Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217023)

This is known to anyone with at least very simple critical thinking skills -- including big media. Funding a study on it may have been necessary to illustrate just how full of shit RIAA and other groups are, but the results are hardly surprising.

Also: physical media is dead. Again, anyone with a modicum of common sense knows this.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217239)

Also: physical media is dead.

My vinyl collection begs to differ.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217317)

Your vinyl collection is fourteen different varieties of dead. Any product that once so permeated society as to become slang for the industry it was created to support and was reliably sold at any industry outlet, that now requires a visit to a specialty store or a museum, is dead dead dead . Nobody wants to hear your scratchy recordings, or your explanation about how much "warmer" the sound is played across a tube-driven amplifier.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217483)

Get off my lawn!

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217893)

You're not going to hear scratchy recordings coming out of my system. I have a quality table and I buy new music on vinyl. Hell, I preordered an LP yesterday; just because a format isn't relevant to you doesn't mean it's dead.

And I'd never use "warmer" to describe my tube amp. If I were feeling especially pedantic I might generate an example showing how even-ordered harmonics sound less displeasing than odd-ordered harmonics. But generally if someone is interested in the technology and not an asshole I'd just be more likely to talk about how fun it was to design a tube amp.

So what they're saying is... (0)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217059)

...a 10% increase in clicks on illegal downloading websites leads to a 0.2% increase in clicks on legal purchase websites

That illegal activities outnumber legal ones by about a factor of 500 to 1?

Re:So what they're saying is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217145)

more likely 50 to 1

Re:So what they're saying is... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217173)

Math...how does that work?

Re:So what they're saying is... (0)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217189)

Since when did it become illegal to click ?

Re:So what they're saying is... (1)

Shagg (99693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217319)

Didn't you know that in the new RIAA/MPAA dictionary "click" = "download" = "upload" = "unauthorized distribution" = "stealing".

Yes, they're deliberately confusing people.

Re:So what they're saying is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217219)

Well no, you can have increases in legal purchases caused by other things... such as greater income

Re:So what they're saying is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217245)

For some reason this comes to mind

http://xkcd.com/1161/

We need a mod -1 (factually untrue) (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217353)

I used to get A's in mathematics... What happened?

Re:We need a mod -1 (factually untrue) (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217399)

You started reading /..

Re:We need a mod -1 (factually untrue) (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217417)

Ah, we'd finally have the much desired -1 I disagree option.

fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217061)

shameless integration with the goatse paradigm shift

Yes, piracy did kill something... good bands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217425)

Music sales may be continuing, but the difference is that people tend to buy bands like Justin Bieber or other pop stuff pushed by the record labels.

In the 1990s, before piracy, one could do well as an independent band, or have a good chance at getting signed and making it big. Back then, if you were good, you had a chance of making it big. Trent Reznor is a good example.

Fast forward to now. Music as a way of making income is dead, just like textiles and meat-packing. You cannot live off of CD sales, nor make money gigging unless you have an established band. Do you hear any new acts on the radio these days? Nope. It doesn't matter how good you are. The only way a record label will look at you is how good an actor/entertainer you are. Not a musician. They want people to -act- like they have a band and sing their already-written songs.

Combine this with the fact that decent musical instruments like DAWs and high-end keyboards like Korg's OASYS and Kurzweil's offerings are history, and essentially, music is dead.

The pirates won; however, there just isn't anything new and good anymore. There won't be another Nine Inch Nails, or other new acts that create genres. The future consists of boy bands and predigested American Idol claptrap.

Re:Yes, piracy did kill something... good bands (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217815)

Question – why do you blame it on pirates? Not saying illegal downloading does not have an effect. (I think it does but I am reading the article) – but why do you name it as the primary cause?

Why not blame the consumer for buying other types of media, such as games and videos?

Why not blame it on market structure where the market has become more efficient and the consumer is grabbing more of the surplus? Consumers are buying more single tracks. They are listening to streaming radio channels which pay less than radio.

My instinct is that these 2 factors have as much to do with this as anything.

Re:Yes, piracy did kill something... good bands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218103)

Why not blame the consumer for buying other types of media, such as games and videos?

Because popular music seems to be a primary human instinct, or pretty high up there (apologies if I'm misusing the lingo from an anthropologist's perspective).

America has had a great, exciting popular music scene from the time of introduction of the RCA Victrola around 1917. Until about the time of Napster and its successors.

Re:Yes, piracy did kill something... good bands (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217973)

Music sales may be continuing, but the difference is that people tend to buy bands like Justin Bieber or other pop stuff pushed by the record labels.

In the 1990s, before piracy, one could do well as an independent band, or have a good chance at getting signed and making it big. Back then, if you were good, you had a chance of making it big. Trent Reznor is a good example.

Fast forward to now. Music as a way of making income is dead, just like textiles and meat-packing. You cannot live off of CD sales

Sorry, but you've got it wrong. Piracy didn't kill bands, technology did.

Just as you can no longer make a living selling buggy whips, changes in technology has greatly reduced the demand for physical media. The inconvenient truth that nobody wants to admit is that iTunes and other sources of *legal* downloading is the biggest thing hurting musicians and the record companies. Here's why:

Until a few years ago, buying music meant going to a store and buying an album. Regardless of the format (CD, Vinyl LP, etc.) buying an album was your only choice. Even if half the songs on those albums weren't so great, it didn't matter. Buying an album was the the only option available to consumers. This was a great deal for musicians and record companies because it meant that they sold a lot of albums and both musicians and record companies made a lot of money.

Then along comes the iPod, iTunes and all the rest. Suddenly, people can now buy individual songs and put them onto their mp3 player of choice. Not only does this greatly reduce the demand for physical media (CDs), but when their favorite band puts out a new CD they can just buy the 4 or 5 good songs that everyone is talking about and ignore the 5 or 6 shitty ones.

At this point it becomes a matter of simple arithmetic. Instead of selling a million albums, an artist sells a million copes of 5 songs, and 5 million songs at 99 cents each is a lot less than 1 million albums at $12-15 each.

The same is true for publishing royalties. Once again, the math is simple. Sell a CD and you get publishing royalties for all 12 songs. Sell individual songs and you only get royalties for the songs sold. The shitty songs that everyone ignores generate no money.

Re:Yes, piracy did kill something... good bands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218133)

Posting anon because I am embarrassed to state this... but I wouldn't mind going back to the days where purchases would be albums (with a ~$10 price), and not tracks. Of course there are some craptastic songs, but it means that a bigger unit of cash goes to the artist.

If 10 people bought tracks, that isn't enough to even buy a lunch (assuming 100% take for the musician.) Ten people buying an album for even $5 would mean something.

In any case, be it piracy or the fact that people buy by the song so artists get less money on legit transactions, music is dead, and watching SXSW proved it over the weekend.

It is a shame that not that long ago, we would have seen many number of bands get a start. Now, the best band at SXSW this year were some hipsters who got on stage, smashed their instruments, walked off, then passed a hat demanding tips.

Re:Yes, piracy did kill something... good bands (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218071)

Music as a way of making a living is as viable as ever. I spend more per month seeing musicians play live than I spent on CDs.

Science Fail: the conclusion is just plain wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217459)

I'm not for record companies... quite the opposite in fact: I think they are getting their karmic just dues for their disgusting behaviour of this oligarchy over many decades.

However, if you're going to do science it's important to get it right, and this study's conclusions are just plain wrong.

What they are measuring is that when something is more popular, more people pirate it *and* more people buy it. This does not mean that more piracy causes more purchases or vice versa. The connection between the two is the popularity of the music.

In order to show what this study and/or article are trying to show -- that piracy does not harm legitimate sales -- they would need to look at two groups of people: one of which is able to partake in piracy and one of whom is not (easier said than done), and then compare which group has more sales. If the sales in the piracy-able group are not less than the piracy-unable group, then you can conclude that piracy does not harm sales. But this is the only kind of experimental study which can show this correlation. I'm extremely curious about this, and would *love* to see what the actual, truthful answer is to that question!

Re:Science Fail: the conclusion is just plain wron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217503)

And actually, we *have* seen music sales decline dramatically in both number and dollar value over the past decade+, so that in itself is evidence pointing in the direction that piracy does harm music sales...

-- same AC

Plz seed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217465)

Come on people help spread this story around no leechers!

THIS time they'll listen (1)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217489)

This study has been done 100 times and it always reaches the same conclusion. These prosecutions are just serving as a minor revenue stream and a means to legitimize a set of rules that benefit the record companies far more than the consumers [dailykos.com] or the artists [afterdawn.com] they are purporting to protect [slashdot.org] .

How Does "Piracy" Help Digital Sales? (3, Interesting)

assertation (1255714) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217495)

I can see "piracy" helping CD sales. Basically, it becomes a "try, before you buy" situation and someone wanting the information stored in a nicer way.

I don't see how it helps legal digital sales. If someone pirated X, they already have X, so why would they buy it?

Is it the case that once having pirated X, they buy X+1, not being able to find X+1 on the pirate sites?

Re:How Does "Piracy" Help Digital Sales? (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217569)

Is it the case that once having pirated X, they buy X+1, not being able to find X+1 on the pirate sites?

This seems likely to be the case, at least to me. Baen Books released a bunch of free ebooks and found that sales of the next book in the series increased. A different type of file, and this was before e-readers were so pervasive, so their results may be different now.

Re:How Does "Piracy" Help Digital Sales? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217923)

I can see "piracy" helping CD sales. Basically, it becomes a "try, before you buy" situation and someone wanting the information stored in a nicer way.

I don't see how it helps legal digital sales. If someone pirated X, they already have X, so why would they buy it?

1. To get better quality.
2. To pay for something you think deserves it.
3. To support artists.

Re:How Does "Piracy" Help Digital Sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218045)

Going to the gaming side, I have not bothered to pirate any games for a very long time. Valve's Steam platform offers a vastly superior service, as it keeps track of your game collection and stays out of the way. Installing a game happens in just a few clicks. If you pirate it, you actually have to do some work to find a reliable source and seeders for a specific game, and have to repeat that every time you want to install it.

Re:How Does "Piracy" Help Digital Sales? (1)

analyst-cz (1386075) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218129)

I can offer the first-hand data to explain the sales increase:
(For legal reasons I have to speak about "one person I know", but, believe, I have this right from the first hand ;-) )

He is rather games fan then the music one, but principals are still the same. His personal shopping policy is exactly "try before buy". Many times he experienced great advertisements, great (paid !?) press reviews, addiction promising trailers while the game itself turned out to be boring half-a-day story, with no cash back chance.

But, on the opposite side, he wants to have many new titles to be produced continually on. So he buys every game he keeps playing more than several days afterwards. Recently he even told me, that it paradoxically turns out, that he very often does not play the game anymore after he buys it - as other new shining title appears at exact that timing.

So he would definitely contribute to this 0.x% increase be the study about games.

We need to hurry up and get this stuff sorted (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217519)

A bit off-topic, but I was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation during my lunch break, and I caught the Samaritan Snare [memory-alpha.org] episode, in which some aliens capture a Federation phaser and then proceed to replicate copies of it. Seeing that, I was immediately reminded of all this stuff regarding intellectual property, and it made me wonder: how in the world could a culture like ours survive in a world where even physical goods can be replicated without harm to the original creator of the product? When it's possible to create physical copies of goods as easy as it is to make digital copies now, what then?

All I know is, we need to get our stuff together so we'll be ready.

Re:We need to hurry up and get this stuff sorted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217655)

Don't worry, stuff will still get designed/invented.

Re:We need to hurry up and get this stuff sorted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217849)

well if something can be copied that easily, the world would be a better place... for starters the hunger would not the an issue

Re:We need to hurry up and get this stuff sorted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217999)

It wouldn't; according to many sources such as Picard's own line in First Contact, currency is no longer in existence on Earth by the time of the United Federation of Planets. This seems to be an obvious acknowledgement that we don't have an intuitive method of economics that doesn't involve scarcity. Matter to energy conversion seems to have been the driving force behind the effective elimination of capitalism, as there's no one to sell to when everything is freely available at a trivial effort.

Was watching the recent UFC title match on PPV (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217561)

It started off with a copyright disclaimer saying "Piracy is not a victimless crime".

It got me thinking, yes I feel for the 1% affected by piracy because instead of making $1.4 billion they will only make $1.2 billion this year.

Most of us just cannot relate to the impact losing $200 million has on your life and so we should do more to prevent online piracy and not steal content ourselves.

I for one will no longer steal content because I am such an asshole for taking profit away from the 1%. They have mouths to feed with caviar, yachts to fuel, and dreams to realize, just like the rest of us.

Please, don't make a 1%'er cry by stealing their content.

Re:Was watching the recent UFC title match on PPV (1)

nightfury (2826503) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217873)

I already don't steal music. [freemusicarchive.org]

Legal downloading != Paid Downloading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43217573)

I browsed the PDF. The study authors conflate legal downloading/streaming with purchases, i.e. if someone who has been illegal downloading music also happens to download free MP3 files from a community or independent band's website, that person apparently counts as a "mixed legal/illegal" downloader in the study's estimation. That seems pretty irrelevant. Of course, what the record industry is claiming is that illegal downloaders are less likely to legally buy music, particularly for those songs that they've already illegally downloaded!

People here seem to forget that the record industry has substantial developmental expenses in establish the international brand of these "household name" artists, including when factoring in the large proportion of duds and dropouts; it's not about pressing a CD for 80 cents a disk or whatever. That's why bands are often introduced as "[major record label] recording artists" at their gigs - it helps validate their worth to the audience.

Impact on RIAA damages? (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217877)

If a 10% increase in piracy activity correlates with a 0.2% increase in legal activity then we can estimate that a dollar of stolen media corresponds to $0.02 in lost revenue. If the RIAA came after me for 100 pirated songs, I'd be happy to settle the lawsuit for $2.

Really? (1)

millst (635068) | about a year and a half ago | (#43217947)

That is kind of like saying... "Shoplifting does not impact overall volume from Walmart". Its still theft people!!! Now I'm not saying I never download pirated material, but at least I'm honest with myself in saying that it is still theft. It doesn't matter that it doesn't affect sales. Its still theft.

Re:Really? (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218095)

Shoplifting harms Walmart. Infringement through file sharing does NOT.

And that's the whole point of the research and studies. They show clearly it does not "hurt" their income to infringe. Also, research has shown that by keeping the parties involved with THEIR stuff instead of alternatives, keeps their market popular. We learned that lesson VERY well through Microsoft who famously left security of thier OS license keys absent or weak for a long, long time while they killed the competition and counted "pirated copies" as part of their market share reports.

So when it comes to online media services, the "most free" will win out over those who are less free.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218143)

Yes. Shoplifting is theft. Theft is the act of stealing, and shoplifting is the act of stealing from a shop, therefore shoplifting is theft. That was never in dispute.

However, you seem to be saying that downloading pirated material is theft, and also that you are honest with yourself. That is a contradiction.

Neil gaiman proved this years ago. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43218003)

http://youtu.be/0Qkyt1wXNlI

Belief is more powerful than fact (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218051)

This has been proven over and over and over again in all manner of ways and all manner of areas.

People believe, for example, that homosexuality is somehow learned and that homosexual parents will make gay children. Provably false all over the place. People continue to believe that being cold gives you a cold. This is also provably false and no one ever questions how one gets a cold in the summer time. It's like apples can hit them on the head all day long and they'll NEVER get that apple come from trees because they won't look up!

So the **AA groups believe that people don't buy when they can infringe. That seems logical on the surface, but reality is different.

Give people an efficient and reliable way to download things legally, and they WILL pay for it... but it has to be what they want in the way they want it. FORGET about lacing the video streams with commercial ads like on TV. (But they'll do that anyway... they always do.)

Belief trumps fact all day long. The only way to trump belief is to wait for the believers to die....and hope they don't teach their beliefs to others.

"... not on revenue from physical formats." (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43218085)

Who cares about physical formats except for half a dozen music nerds who wants the "experience" of a physical object? It's pretty obvious that the younger generations just want to hear their music, not accumulate dust.

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