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Study: MP3 Sharing Not Serious Threat To CD Sales

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the problem-with-static-worldviews dept.

Music 704

pkaral writes "The two distinguished gentlemen Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee have most likely made RIAA executives choke on their lunches. Those two economists at Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill have done the research and the math on how much CD sales are actually hurt by P2P sharing. The answer: A whopping one CD per 5,000 files downloaded. Needless to say, RIAA are already trying to discredit the study."

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I expect... (5, Insightful) (156602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715286)

Now I expect a full apology and retraction for the demonization P2P has gotten from the RIAA, et. al. They should be trying to increase downloads like radio stations try to increase listeners.

Record labels should distribute approved MP3 tracks, then offer them as singles on CD, just like the radio stations. They should closely scrutinize the downloading habits, then create an album based on the popularity of certain tracks.

They don't see this as a tool, only as a threat. They're idiots.

TV Production should do this too. If Viacom released official BitTorrents of Enterprise, complete with banner ads at the bottom of the screen, I'd download them. The banner ads would make me more likely to delete it when I'm done watching it, which is what they'd want, right. Then they can still sell me the DVD.

That'll probably never happen, though.

Re:I expect... (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715388)

Really, all they'd need to do is release BitTorents of the UPN broadcast complete with the UPN logo and commerical breaks. Yeah, people could try to edit out the breaks, but that'd break the official torrent value.

TiVo's already proven that people will watch ads even with the 30 second skip enabled, you just have to get the viewer's attention during the 2 seconds they see the ad before hitting the skip.

Re:I expect... (4, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715391)

"hey should closely scrutinize the downloading habits, then create an album based on the popularity of certain tracks."

Many artists battle with the record companies on which songs make their records. As an artist, I wouldn't want "market demand" determining the makeup of my album.

On the other hand, "artists" like P. Diddy or Britney Spears might prefer it that way.

Re:I expect... (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715406)

No, they probably do see it as a tool, but a tool that they need to keep a close eye on.

Their logic probably goes something like this: so long as we can keep making people feel guilty/nervous about filesharing, we'll be able to keep P2P as a promotional tool while minimizing the risk of it taking over as the best way to get music.

They'd never say this outright, of course, as it'd undermine their PR campaign against P2P. But so long as they keep P2P flooded with crap and pursue the occasional lawsuit, they'll be able to reap the benefit of filesharing without having it grow into a serious replacement for their distribution models.

They're not idiots, they're cutthroat businessmen. They care about lots of things, but in the end, making money trumps all other concerns.

Re:I expect... (3, Insightful) (156602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715539)

Their logic probably goes something like this: so long as we can keep making people feel guilty/nervous about filesharing, we'll be able to keep P2P as a promotional tool while minimizing the risk of it taking over as the best way to get music.

How Orwellian. There's a word for that in 1984: Doublethink

Re:I expect... (1)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715491)

If they were really smart, they would use these new DRM enabled technologies like Window media to give away free music and track how often the songs are getting played. Or is that not possible with WM? I thought that it was.

Unfortunatly they don't see it that way.

Re:I expect... (4, Insightful)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715521)

If Viacom released official BitTorrents of Enterprise, complete with banner ads at the bottom of the screen, I'd download them. The banner ads would make me more likely to delete it when I'm done watching it, which is what they'd want, right.

Right. Until, that is, someone figures out a way to remove those banner ads, leaving a clean near DVD-quality version for everyone to download. Then the industry will cry fowl saying it hurts they're profits, even though the advertising companies have already paid them. Then they'll start creating all these DRM schemes to try and prevent that from happening, which will only be a smokescreen as they use it's failure to press for laws outlawing all media being downloaded from "unauthorized distribution points." At that point, if they succeed, they will effective control all media on the net, because it is illegal to host and upload any media files to anyone whatsoever, unless you pay a licencing fee. Same story that's been going on in one form or another for decades...

Re:I expect... (5, Insightful)

OoSync (444928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715571)

They should closely scrutinize the downloading habits, then create an album based on the popularity of certain tracks.

They don't see this as a tool, only as a threat. They're idiots.

Actually, the real fun with the RIAA and major labels is that they already do such things. Please view the Wired article:
BigChampagne is Watching You [] .

I say this is fun because the RIAA talks out both sides of its mouth: it wants to limit major expansion of free P2P downloads (control the download market) and simultaneously use the data from such spontaneous sources to make smart investments on marketing.

Of course, when they say "CD sales" have gone down, I'm not so sure they mean all CD-based formats (singles, albums, collections, etc.) or just some sub-categories, like CD sigles. I can believe CD singles have been decimated by P2P filesharing, but I'm more reluctant to agree to a rapid, major decline in album sales without proper evidence. In other words, I don't believe what the RIAA claims is exactly what is happening, merely what they want you to think is happening.

Radio Stations (2, Informative)

Exousia (662698) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715609)

Radio stations actually pay licensing royalties when a given song is played. Airplay benefits music producers because of the exposure. In order for music to be desired (and purchased) it needs to be exposed well. P2P downloads are generally songs that the downloader already heard on a radio station. Downloading a song for free cheats the producers out of the sale of the song. Moreover, as the law exists, downloading copyrighted material w/o the copyright holder's permission is unlawful. If you don't like it, change the law. Otherwise illegal downloader face possible penalties, civil and criminal.

RIAA (5, Funny)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715289)

RIAA: File sharing hurts our beloved industry.
Student A: Have you heard that new song from ? It's awesome!!!!
Student B: Yeah I'm going to see them next week in LA!! Road Trip!!!
Student C: I'm going to buy that album they put out last year.
Student D: Me too!
Student A: Yeah it was largely underrated, I guess.
Harvard Prof Guy: Consumption of music increases dramatically with the introduction of file sharing...
RIAA: Harvard SUCKS!

fo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715305)


What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715317)

One CD isn't whopping, dO I sEnSe a BiT oF sArCaSiM?

Its still piracy (2, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715323)

This doesn't hide the fact that it is still stealing. Plus, if you say A whopping one CD per 5,000 files downloaded, then how many files have been downloaded? (fives of) Billions? Then that's millions of CDs. So there is an effect, however small. If the study showed that listening to mp3s made people MORE LIKELY to buy a CD, then the study might help the napster community. If there is any lose, however insignificant, its just another nail in the coffin.

Re:Its still piracy (5, Informative)

spudthepotatofreak (649917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715376)

It may be piracy, but it's not stealing... it's called infingement, escape the common misconceptions ...

Re:Its still piracy (4, Interesting)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715413)

I agree with you on this and it could only get worse. When things just started to get out of control is when Napster was pinched. My Dad just started looking at Napster and WinMX at that point. Now he doesn't dowload anything because of the whole napster thing. If this truely had moved beyond us geeks, the potential for damage to the music industry would be much greater. Don't fool yourselves....P2P will affect revenue and it IS stealing. That said, don't make it hard for me to listen to my CD on my MP3 player.

Re:Its still piracy (4, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715416)

You didn't read the article. and it does not match the headline/slashdot comments

The # 5,000 does not even appear in it, and it says they sold MORE copies, not less.
they concluded that file sharing actually increases CD sales for hot albums that sell more than 600,000 copies. For every 150 downloads of a song from those albums, sales increase by a copy, the researchers found.

Re:Its still piracy (2, Informative)

(54)T-Dub (642521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715550)

More from the article
Songs that were heavily downloaded showed no measurable drop in sales
Just to be fair, it does have an effect, but quite a minor one.
Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf found that albums that sell to niche audiences suffer a "small negative effect" from Internet piracy.

Although the practice cannibalizes some sales, it may promote others by serving as a marketing tool

Re:Its still piracy (4, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715436)

If you read the actual article, it says that the study concluded that file sharing INCREASES CD sales. On their "most pessimistic model", which is not the one they think is most likely correct, they compute a decrease in sales of 2 million CDs in 2002, which they say is statistically insignificant in comparison to the decrease of 139 million CDs sold between 2000 and 2002.

Re:Its still piracy? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715441)

"Then that's millions of CDs"

...and how many of those would've been purchased if P2P didn't exist?

I'm not one to advocate theft in any form, but I do find it funny that one can legally record and share copies of music from the radio, XM Radio, Television (via, say, cable or sat TV's non-MTV music channels), etc... and many of these sources are digital quality to boot.

...but for some odd reason it is suddenly illegal to do it via the Internet?

Like I said, theft isn't cool in any form, but what makes one digital format (say, recordings off of DirecTV's Music Choice(tm) ) blessed when compared to another (The Internet)

I suspect that in legality, it is a matter of the RIAA getting a 'vig' from tape sales, broadcasters, et al, but in moral or technical principle there really isn;t all that much difference.

Re:Its still piracy (2, Insightful)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715443)

I can't speak for other people, but before Radiohead's Amnesiac came out, I had the whole thing in mp3. I liked so much I went and bought the CD anyway, so yes, in my case mp3's made me more likely to buy a CD.

Re:Its still piracy (1)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715451)

They are saying that file sharing actually increased the sales of songs from popular artists. Not decreased.

So if you believe them then file sharing is good.

File sharing may be infringing on copyright and that's probably bad. However, it's much worse for the record companies then for the artists.

What is? (5, Insightful)

timothy (36799) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715459)

"Its still piracy," you say. What is?

Do people illegally download copyright material? Sure. But --

Is it piracy when I download out-of-copyright old radio programs [] *? Or sample songs from bands who specifically encourage this? What about lectures stored on a Morpheus server in L. Lessig's campus office? :)

Both "downloading" and "p2p" can mean a lot of things. I plan to buy a CD of Nero Wolfe MP3s in part because of the excellent episodes I've downloaded so far.

Ah, well.


* Orson Welles' radio stuff is pretty incredible; his presentation of Dracula in particular is great

Re:What is? (2, Informative)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715560)

Don't get me wrong, tim. I want this as bad as everyone else, and I want to see some of these laws reviewed and revised for the new millenium. My post wasn't necessarily my opinion, but a reminder of how lawmakers will view it. I was just trying to bring it down to earth before people started claiming P2P victory. ;-)

Re:Its still piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715506)

Doesn't stealing imply a loss of property for the supposed victim?

Doesn't pirac imply redistribution or other means of seeking profit from the booty?

This is copyright infringement at most.
wahh, poor executives.

Re:Its still piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715517)

To hell with you and your "laws" and "ideals".

Laws only exist if they can be enforced.
Since the RIAA is not coming after me (and my gigz of phat pipez) they don't exist, and neither does anything they say.

Therefore, I shall DL mp3's to my hearts content regardless of what you or anyone may think.

Re:Its still piracy (5, Interesting)

stcanard (244581) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715540)

I made an interesting discovery the other day.

I was looking at my old portable stereo with two tape decks, and realized that the 2nd deck didn't even have a play button. All it had was record, to record from the first tape deck

So, let's think about this -- in the early 80's Sony was making devices whose sole purpose was to record music from other mediums. I will tell you 99% of the time I used that deck to record a tape I had borrowed

The music industry managed to survive a time when they were making devices to copy music (and I'll tell you right now, 10th generation analog copies did not bother me).

A 5th or so generation tape introduced me to what became one of my favourite bands for a long time ... The Violent Femmes. I ended up buying every one of their tapes, then their CD's hen it turned into that.

Nothing has changed in the last 25 years, other than the fact that the recording industry is trying to find excuses to generate revenue through a blanket tax.

Re:Its still piracy (5, Insightful)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715578)

It's neither piracy or stealing, it's called "copyright infringement"...that's the term the LAW uses exclusively. And even then, it's only for those cases of P2P exchange which are done outside of the allowable exemptions to copyright law.

If nothing else, this study even deflates the already weak argument that P2P is "stealing", because the argument used to be that by downloading you are "stealing" the potential income of artists. Well, without the economic argument now, then what exactly is stolen? There is nothing missing.

You're correct in pointing out that 1/5000 is still a significant number. But also that the study does not concentrate on the other side; that P2P may inspire sales that never would have been made.

The funny thing, but not unexpected, is that most businesses would be jumping for joy if a study like this came out. That percieved threats to your business in fact turned out not to be that bad after all. The RIAA/MPAA *should* be pleased by this study. IF it was about economics. But their reaction shows that it's not about the money at all, it's about their ability to totally control and manipulate human behavior and destroy capitalism, e.g., power.

Re:Its still piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715582)

I'm a blood relation to the great Sir Francis Drake, pirate who was the first Englishman to sail around the world. I take insult at the way you belittle his accomplishments by associating him with college kids who need something to do with their hard drive space.

I used to work with Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715325)

Brillant guys, but Oberholzer-Gee had a real nasty habit of picking his nose in public and eating the booger. Really disgusting to watch!

they qualify (4, Funny)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715326)

two distinguished gentlemen Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee have most likely made RIAA executives choke on their lunches

Thats all you have to do to be distinguished around here...

Re:they qualify (0)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715458)

What's the RIAA's email address? I want to send them Tubgirl. :)

It is not about sales but control (5, Interesting)

bathmatt (638217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715331)

I feel the best thing about P2P is that you learn about other music that you don't hear on the radio. This is what scares the RIAA the most, not a loss of sales but of a loss of control on what you listen to. If people start listening to independent artists they will no longer just listen to britney spears or limp bizkit or whatever crap the RIAA forces down peoples radio.

Re:It is not about sales but control (4, Insightful)

keirre23hu (638913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715455)

I agree... this news is not really shocking.. if your album is crap and people find out before they spend their hard earned money on it... guess what? they're reluctant to buy it.

Iff the recording industry had a clue, they would take the poplarity of P2P filesharing AND the change in their sales numbers as proof that people are sick of paying inflated prices for music of decreasing quality. Just yet another example of people with money trying to use people with less money to keep their broken business model floating...

I would like to see more studies on this subject though. It would be nice if the entertainment industry would get over themselves and began to value their customers' wants and needs.

Hey, cool... (1)

spudthepotatofreak (649917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715333)

I've never had a reason to like a laywer before :D

economists != laywers (3, Funny)

uarch (637449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715469)

Two economists != two laywers though both tend to have their heads an equal distance up their ___


I think its helped the music industry (5, Insightful)

queen of everything (695105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715334)

I have found out about so many bands that I like that I would buy their cds or see them in concert because of mp3 sharing. I never would just go buy a cd of some band I have never heard of; but I can download an mp3 or 2 and discover that I really like the band. I'm glad that there are people studying it from the opposite angle of the RIAA.

Re:I think its helped the music industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715420)

Exactly the same here, and we're not alone.

Hilarious. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715337)

I love it when people pounce on one study that happens to agree with their viewpoint and discredit studies that contradict them.

I'm talking to you guys, not the RIAA.

Re:Hilarious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715435)

+5, Hilarious

Get off the fence and join in the fun!

Re:Hilarious. (5, Insightful)

rabel (531545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715531)

I think the point is that this is a study by a couple of guys that can most likely be considered "unbiased" since, well, since there isn't really any money to be made by supporting P2P file sharing.

Most other studies that show the P2P is hurting CD sales are put out by folks that are either paid by the record industry or can be otherwise deemed uncredible.

Oh, and /. readers are certainly biased... just making the (obvious) point that there's a reason why what appears to be an unbiased study is pounced on by the readers here.

Re:Hilarious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715547)

You wouldn't be lumping all slashdot readers in a group now would you? I along with many other slashdot readers aren't pouncing on shit. Timothy posted it alone.

This is the first study of it's kind I've seen biased the wrong way of the RIAA, why wouldn't it be posted? Just because it's posted doesn't mean all slashdot readers agree with it. I admit I buy less CDs since mp3s. My dated CD collection speaks for itself. Of course I listen to totally different music now, mostly electronic that's a bit hard to find what I want at places like at Best Buy. MP3s are to thank for my shift in musical tastes.

-- gid

Promotion vs. Sales (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715338)

Free over the air radio has always been considered a promotional vehicle for music artists, that hearing a song on the radio is more likely to inspire sales than prevent it.

More or less, at this 1 CD per 5,000 downloads number, downloading is being called a push, it gives just about as much as it takes away from the recording industry.

I think what the RIAA is really scared of is the fact that P2P distribution might allow an artist to gain fame and make money without going through the "major label system" and that'd be the death of that system. So, it's not that P2P threatens CD sales as much as it threatens RIAA-member CD sales by replacing them with something else.

Re:Promotion vs. Sales (0, Troll)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715400)

This man is a genius. Mod parent up. Or give him a company.

Donald Trump, are you reading this?

Re:Promotion vs. Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715474)

File sharing with P2P (non-centralized) systems is unlikely to 'give a spin' to a new artist:

1. you need to know what you are looking for
2. you are likely to find something which is already popular just because there are a lot of people sharing that file
3. nothing stops 'unknown' artists to create their website and put their songs there, no major record labels involved

Discredit? (5, Funny)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715340)

Obviously, these "economists" are just a bunch of nerds with too much time on their hands. What kind of degree does it take to teach at Harvard? A PhD? Like that means anything. Our marketing guy has a Masters. These professors don't even have any platinum records.

Well... (5, Insightful) (233303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715345)

There are probably no study in the world that could convince RIAA that P2P is good for business. They've made up their minds.
BUT, it might convince lawmakers to whink twise, and it shows the common man what they already know: if you want something that is good, you'll pay for it. If you got a broad selection to sample, you'll more likely find something YOU like.

Optimist (was Re:Well...) (5, Insightful)

keirre23hu (638913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715494)

The only thing that will convinve legislators to choose the common man over the recording industry is an equally funded lobbying group... not likely

Unfortunate (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715346)

Too bad that the people who have already settled with the RIAA didn't have this information in hand, at the very least, it could have lessened their settlement.

The answer (2, Funny)

TheJavaGuy (725547) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715349)

Fuzzy math.

File-Sharing != Threat to Music Sales

The RIAA just doesn't get it.

MP3 Sharing is Still Illegal!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715351)

No matter how you try to justify it, it's still copyright infringement and against the law.

Maybe its not a threat economically, but your still enjoying the fruits of the musician's labor without paying for it.

Slashdot, always the reliable defenders of piracy.

Re:MP3 Sharing is Still Illegal!! (5, Insightful)

Bonewalker (631203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715546)

Maybe its not a threat economically, but your still enjoying the fruits of the musician's labor without paying for it.

Doesn't this same thing occur every time you listen to the radio?

You might say no because there are advertisers who are paying for the space, which the radio station then gives a portion to the music industry, thus paying the artist back...a pittance.

Well, consider this. By downloading a song, many people, according to the study, often go purchase cd's from these artists whose music they have enjoyed for free. This is even better for the artist because they get at least a little more because it is direct revenue for them and the music industry.

Another example, you can go check out a book from the library for free and read it in its entirety. For free! Not a single cent goes to the author. Yet, you're still enjoying the fruits of the author's labor without paying for it.

Open your mind, see the possibilities.

Re:MP3 Sharing is Still Illegal!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715606)

so? your point is...?

And the bonus (1, Informative)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715355)

Don't forget NEW SALES due to people finding songs they like via MP3's.

Just like radio.

Re:And the bonus (1)

tsunamifirestorm (729508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715395)

I'm sure the study takes in account the number of cd's that people buy because of hearing a new band through file sharing. I can think of cd's that I've bought because I downloaded 2 of their songs, and I can also think of cd's that I didn't buy because I downloaded most of their cd.

Regardless... (3, Insightful)

jwthompson2 (749521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715363)

of whether P2P hurts CD sales, the issue that still needs to be dealt with is the legallity and morality/ethics of the issue. Perhaps in light of this laws or business practices need to be modified but until such time people should not be encouraged by this to behave in an illegal and unethical/immoral manner.

um.. (0)

monkease (726622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715364)

it's great that harvard et al is supporting what pretty much everyone on slashdot already knows.

these riaa articles are now even more predictable than the sco ones. at least with sco you can try and guess what incredibly (and ambitiously) stupid move they are going to pull next; with the riaa we could probably mouth the words as they're talking.

Embrace, not extinguish (4, Insightful)

sboyko (537649) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715366)

Larry Rosin, the president of Somerville, N.J.-based Edison Media Research, said ...
"Anybody who says that the Internet has not affected sales is just not paying attention to what is going on out there," he said. "It's had an effect on everything else in life, why wouldn't it have an effect on this?"

I think everyone agrees that the Internet has affected CD sales. What they (RIAA) don't get is that it can have a very positive impact on music sales and marketing. It opens a new way to sell music, which the RIAA has failed to take advantage of in any meaningful way. If they were to embrace the possibilities I think they could increase sales dramatically.

Re:Embrace, not extinguish (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715440)

The real problem from the RIAA members is that they've invested millions in CD-pressing plants, and they're not interested in letting that barrier to entering the market go down so easy. If anybody with a $99/mo. simple webserver can distribute music and get their songs picked up by the radio, then the size of the pie will stay the same, but the RIAA members will each end up with smaller pieces because of all the new players that take little bits.

The department is wrong (-1, Troll)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715373)

It should read, "from the tell-the-slashbots-what-they-want-to-hear department."

This still doesnt... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715380)

legitimise unauthorised sharing of copyright material, so please dont think it does. Unauthorised sharing is still illegal and should be dealt with, regardless of wether or not it increases sales, if the copyright holders want to deal with it.

bah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715387)

Somehow I think the RIAA will point out that UNC's mens basketball team didn't even make it to the Sweet 16 this year, and thus everything coming out of UNC is bull flop.

They'll also point out that Harvard only got a whopping 3 conference wins [] in this year's Ivy League season.

This is "result" you guys want to see. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715389)

If these same guys had determined that sharing hurt CD sales massively, would you accept it? Or would you scream it is "flawed"? Of course this study is automatically found correct, it supports the one result you want. Therefore it "has" to be correct.

Why doesn't Slashdot just simply admit that any study that finds P2P to hurt CD sales is to be considered bogus? You have to take the good with the bad if you want any credibility.

Let's end the charade.

Horse. Dead. (0, Redundant)

Petronius (515525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715390)

There must be a zillion articles & posts by now explaining that mp3s and p2p and CD burners and "the internet" aren't bad for music sales. Can we go back to "News... Stuff that matters"?

downloading copyrighted music is Theft (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715393)

This is not a troll. I really am interested in your logic.

How about these.

You bring your car to the garage. It gets fixed and the bill comes to some amount of money. You are expected to pay the mechanic this amount. Lets say it was all labor as well and no parts were replaced. You use your extra key and get your car back some night without paying the mechanic for the work he did. Did you just steal from him or did you just violate his right to collect the money you owe him. What is he no longer in possession of in this example? The car was always yours, you just took it back without paying the bill. If the answer is nothing then you did not steal from him although I think a court would disagree.

The following argument is a bit absurd but the point is made. Don't think about the details, think about the concept. Ignore that the charge uses $20 worth of electricity or the outlet is on the street.

Since many people claim that theft can only occur when a physical object is taken then how about electricity. Assume a city produces their own electricity via a solar grid. Say you are walking down the street. You see an outlet. You decide that you need to give your cell phone a quick charge and plug it in. You leave your cell phone there (because this is a perfect world and it won't get stolen) and it charges. When you get back there is a city employee there holding your cell phone (He unplugged it to plug his whatever in) telling you that you owe the City $20 for the electricity you used (your cell phone takes a lot of juice to charge). Did you just steal from the city or not? You didn't take anything "physical" from them.

Re:downloading copyrighted music is Theft (2, Informative)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715497)

You have a point, but your analogy is horrible. Is the case of the vehicle, you are paying for a service rendered.

Downloading/distributing pirated music/software/movies/etc is not theft, it's copyright infringement. US Code Title 17 []

Re:downloading copyrighted music is Theft (3, Insightful)

puck71 (223721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715577)

The difference between your analogies and downloading music is that the people in your analogies actually LOST something. In the first case, the mechanic lost some of his valuable time, and in the second example the city lost some money (according to your example, $20). People that say theft only involves physical property are over-generalizing, but MOST theft does involve physical property.

Downloading music involves no direct loss for the RIAA. Nobody's time is lost and they don't have to pay out any money. The only way they can claim a loss is if they assume you would have bought the album that you downloaded, which is tenuous at best.

Hasn't this consistently been the message? (2, Redundant)

kokaubeam (736951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715394)

It seems like every time an unbiased study is conducted, it has consistently suggested that P2P not only doesn't harm CD sales but at times has even helped the overall sale of CDs. I have only heard the opposite from the recording industry and the media outlets that get their data from them.

Earth to RIAA: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715398)

Earth to RIAA: i've bought albums on account of one song i've heard off of p2p networks. do some math.

Re:Earth to RIAA: (5, Funny)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715419)

Yes, but how many did you avoid buying, because after listening to it realized it sucked? Without p2p, you'd be stuck having to buy the CD first to find out if it sucks. Hence, more money for the RIAA.


It's still stealing (2, Insightful)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715402)

But is anyone surprised by this? I mean really deep down surprised. What hurts CD sales is the shoddy quality of the entertainment on said CD's. If I wanted to hear one good song surrounded by 12 crappy songs, I'd turn on the radio.

Re:It's still stealing (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715464)

stealing shmealing. you just typed too much. you're stealing my page space.

But a Loss is Loss (1)

Graemee (524726) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715403)

Don't get too hyper that the RIAA was off on the numbers. They can still spin doctor that a loss is occuring.

The cause of lagging CD sales.. (5, Insightful)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715407)

is of course lagging music quality! If Metallica's St. Anger is not selling like hotcakes it's because it's abject, utter crap, not because you can get it for free on the internet.

Hmmm, Wow (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715408)

You mean I actually would have bought 4 CD's... Amazing.

In Other News... (5, Funny)

jetkust (596906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715409)

...A study by Sharman Networks shows that CD sales are hurting file downloads on their popular file sharing network Kazaa, and have been for some time. Sharman Networks proposes a tax on every CD sold to accomodate for these losses...

The RIAA is not as blind as we think they are (4, Insightful)

lavalyn (649886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715417)

You may think they are trying to keep what market and distribution methods are available at a cartel. While that's what they are publicly doing, I doubt the masterminds behind the member companies are that perversely blind.

You have a bunch of big corporations, that by definition are not going to be able to react quickly to new changes in the environment. There's layers of bureaucracy within, and many times (think Sony Computer vs Sony Music) the left hand wants to slap the wrists of the right. I think they're just looking for a way to take advantage of the new system but don't have a clean implementation ready to put into production. So they make loud threatening noises and otherwise put up a front.

Then they come out with a new system that everybody had already proposed ten times over three years ago. And everybody, especially the cartel members, end up happy.

"Intel will continue to use its own IA64. No, we are not going to use AMD's x86-64 extensions."

THERE WE GO (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715424)

This study proves it! Now can slashdot quit harping on SCO, RIAA and Microsoft, and get back to real tech news?

Oh wait, anything more than slightly technically in depth is too much for you slashbots.

Fuck this shit, you people should all go back to work.

no progress (2, Interesting)

LighthouseJ (453757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715428)

These studies have said the same thing for a while that mp3 downloading has not affected or actually helped CD sales. However, the RIAA still sues people to try and halt mp3 downloading using fear of prosecution and saying mp3 downloading is damaging the executive profit margins. Someone's not telling the truth because they can't be right, and multiple sources have gone against the RIAA so far.

My issue with the situation is when the RIAA going to actually perform their own study and see for themselves that downloaders aren't pilfering from their pockets? I want the RIAA to prove to me that mp3 downloading is hurting CD sales.

A counter point (4, Insightful)

GreenCrackBaby (203293) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715431)

Songs that were heavily downloaded showed no measurable drop in sales, the researchers found after tracking sales of 680 albums over the course of 17 weeks in the second half of 2002. Matching that data with activity on the OpenNap file-sharing network, they concluded that file sharing actually increases CD sales for hot albums that sell more than 600,000 copies. For every 150 downloads of a song from those albums, sales increase by a copy, the researchers found.

I think this information needs to be approached skeptically, as there's no way to measure reliably "what would have happened." Given a lack of P2P sharing, can you say for certain how many CDs you would have bought/would not have bought? Of course not.

If CD sales for a popular download increase by 2%, can you ever prove they wouldn't have gone up 3% if not for downloading?

I just don't think this can be proven either way.

Re:A counter point (2, Insightful)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715545)

The study only compares it against other songs that were being traded and sold at the same time. It's not comparing what could have been, but more along the lines of the songs that were traded did better than the ones that weren't.

I do agree, it's impossible to say for sure - Maybe the music industry would be dead now if not for P2P, maybe it would be twice as big. No one can say anything besides "probably" or "probably not" for either of those, at least without a time machine.

The RIAA only hurt themselves (4, Insightful)

DroopyStonx (683090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715454)

The reason I stopped buying CDs and continue to download mp3s is because of how the RIAA reacted to the situation. Many others feel the same why. Why should we buy CDs? I'll support the artists by going to their concerts instead.

They like to jump around like a big angry monkey and spread their lies and misinformation to get the public (and government) to see them as "poor me, people aren't buying our music" instead of coming to the realization of "Hey, maybe the music we're putting out is junk."

Then they huff and puff, throw lawsuits left and right in an attempt to SCARE people into buying their products. Coercion, anyone?

I think we've all known for quite some time that mp3 downloading is equivalent to when recordable cassette tapes were introduced. There was a frenzy from the industry as if it was the end of music and sales as they knew it. It wasn't.

Now we're seeing the truth.

In other news today... (4, Funny)

w3weasel (656289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715472)

Water declared 'wet'
Sky often described as 'blue'
RIAA,MPAA and SCO still suffer from delusions of sustainable profit via litigation
'Open Source Software' community remains fragmented Microsoft called 'evil' by some
Apple hardware percieved as 'expensive'
Intel based hardware discoved to fast, moderately reliable, and disposable.

okay enough stoopid jokes
I personally have bought more CD's because I discovered a band I had never heard of via mp3 download.

foreach ($monopoly_action as $headline)
{$knowledge = beat($headline);}
function beat($deadhorse)
{if($deadhorse){return "jelly";}}

Of course (4, Insightful)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715487)

File-sharing music has hurt sales. Because now you don't need to drop a bundle of cash on an album before realizing that the cd sucks and never listening to it again.

Plus, swapping increased some sale! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715492)

Plus, the study showed that file swapping of popular songs actually increased sales of popular CD's. Too bad that not so popular ones were affected more. I'd have loved it if they had been helped as well.

They need to change. (2, Interesting)

Omni Magnus (645067) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715493)

They music industry needs to abandon this archaic album system, and just make singles. This will be easier to new bands to start, plus they wont have to make more garbage, and we wont have to listen to it.

Something I've noticed... (1)

megaversal (229407) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715505)

It seems to me that the RIAA does actually realize filesharing and p2p help sales, but since it is still an "illegal" activity, they need to look like they're combating it, otherwise it could be taken as a sign that it's ok to steal their bread and butter, in which case sales probably would drop. It's a bit of a system... p2p increases sales, but needs to be "fought" in order to keep p2p increasing sales, and from the RIAA point of view, if a few nice people get sued in the process, all the better for the RIAA.

A whopping 5000 (1)

Chromodromic (668389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715511)


If 1,000,000 files are downloaded per day -- just for example, and not at all unreasonable -- that's 200 CDs per day that the RIAA loses.

That's roughly 6,060 CDs per month, or over 72 thousand CDs per year.

Now go to them and tell them that this is not at all a concern and that they should just shut up.

This study is not heeelllllpiiinnnng ...

Falling sales (3, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715516)

RIAA points to data showing that CD sales fell from a high of more than $13.2 billion in 2000 to $11.2 billion in 2003

[me] Who can I blame for my stocks, mutual funds and 401k falling during this timeframe.
[RIAA] Those bad people we've been talking about downloading music.
[me] So the tech bubble was just hype?
[RIAA] Yes and soon as we start making more money we'll refill coffers with funds.
[me] You mean from those $3,000 lawsuits from people that are buying your music.
[RIAA] Err, uh, ahem...
[me] I see so your working for the little guy now?
[RIAA] Err, uh, aheeem.....

You think it goes something likes that?

actual paper (4, Informative)

jdunlevy (187745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715529)

Available in PDF format via Koleman Strumpf's site [] .

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8715548)

Well considering I have about 1200 mp3s and haven't bought a CD since 1999, its good to know that I've only cost the industry one-fifth of a CD.

Yeah right. Get real. I'm not going to buy anymore CDs because I like my free music, but if I didnt have it I would have probably bought 15-20 CD's over the past 5 years.

Not a lot I know compared to some people, but at least I can admit they've legitimately lost 20 CD's of my business.

Be pro-active; spread the word (4, Insightful)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715551)

Instead of circle jerking on slashdot--if you really care about this issue, send a copy of the study to your local congress-critters. Yes, it's a drop in the bucket compared to what the RIAA shovels at them, but it's at least more tangable than "mp3s @r3 t3h r0x0r" and it's a damned sight better than nothing!

A public service is needed (-1, Troll)

PhysicsExpert (665793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715556)

This is just further evidence that the music industry has badly misjudged the new technology that has come along over the past few years. There is serious money to be from legal downloading, and every day that the music industry wastes is a day's revenue lost.

We need a new business model: Music is enjoyed by all and so should be a public resource such as the postal service or the army. In the past it was impossble for the government to buy large quantities of CDs for its citizens, however now we have a great opportunity. The govenment could buy a license for all music released in the US over the course of the year and then make this available to it's citizens over a p2p network. After a year the licence would expire and the files would be deleted (the government already has the technology to do this). If you liked the music then you could go out and buy the CD, as the evidence of the article suggests you will.

At first this seems unusual, but in Europe government owned business are common, especially in the areas of steel and agriculture. In the past, even Russia has beeen a world leader providing services for the people, and at one stage even facilitated this in countries such as Poland and Hungary. Think about how good a communal attitude could be.

Problem with big corporations is.. (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715557)

You can assert and assert and the courts believe you because as I've said before, the courtroom is not a technical place. It is ruled by the dollar and by an older generation that does not understand the technology it is ruling on. To a degree, the generation that rules the courtrooms is the one that grew big business and believes in it.

The big companies assert, and hope that settlements occur before someone with pockets or a voice can prove them wrong. They just hope to keep the only people with voices within the big business realm.

Re:Problem with big corporations is.. (2, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715597)

to add clarification, i am not saying that the courtoom is solely ruled by the dollar. It certainly increases your odds dramatically if you can afford Johnny Cochran, etc.. But the fact that the judicial/patent system is not designed to handle technical things and is ruled by people who dont understand technical things well enough to compensate makes the courtroom inept at justly resolving technical issues.

content (5, Funny)

Archalien (197877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715561)

1 CD per 5,000 files.

That should show the RIAA how hard it is to find decent music these days.

Quality. Not quantity.

But where is the study (2, Funny)

thebra (707939) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715570)

that P2P causes Cancer?

In the long term, P2P will kill CD sales (4, Insightful)

wwwrench (464274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715579)

I realize it is popular Slashdot dogmatism to insist that filesharing doesn't harm CD sales, and this may be true now, but what about in the future as bandwidth increases?? The RIAA might be evil, but they are not completely stupid. Right now, downloading songs one by one and tracking down every song of an album is time-consuming. But the RIAA realize that it is only a matter of time until it is faster and more convenient to download an entire album then go to a music store. When that time comes, their current business model will be borked. Other than distribution, the only service the record companies provide is marketing. When P2P distribution beats them out, they will die. Bands don't need a record company to finance the making of their album (with ever-cheaper home recording equipment). They can distribute music by themselves. So the only value the record company gives the band is marketing (and this doesn't add any value for the listener). So the RIAA realizes that in the long-term, they could be fucked. They might be able to retain the business of folks willing to listen to pap fed to them by marketing reps, but that is about it. (Not that this isn't a sizable source of revenue though....) I hope eventually artists will be able to build online music communities of people willing to support them, and then the RIAA will wither and die.

I'm surprised they don't come out ahead (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715583)

One lousy CD, it doesn't sound like much of a loss, but I'm surprised that the record sellers didn't come out ahead. They should. P2P should function just like any other marketing channel that allows a free sample. They could even have a few restrictions. Honest people will follow rules they think are reasonable, but if you treat people like thieves, they will steal.

Just think of all the people who download a song or two and then decide they want the whole album, more than they care to download. As long as the record companies don't waste the space by filling the CD up with just one good song and a bunch of trash, I think that kills more album sales than downloading, especially with most of the US market still on dialup.

This is probably true (5, Insightful)

.nuno (153038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8715610)

I stopped downloading mp3s regularly already some time ago (about 2 years) not really because I was afraid of the RIAA/MPAA/whomever_else, but rather because I was tired of downloading Jason Donovan's latest hit under the name Rolling_Stones_Start_Me_Up_Live_In_Birmingham.mp3.

During the 3 year period where I did use Napster (and Kazaa later on) to download mp3s I bought the bulk of my 250+ CD collection, mostly of bands that I had initially heard via P2P. In that sense, it did work a bit like radio.

Not unlike many others, I also burned CDs with those MP3 files, but there's nothing like owning the real thing(TM) so I ended up buying the CDs of bands that I really liked.

This has been said (only today) already about 300.000 times but I'll say it again (this is /. after all):
When will ??AA realize that CDs don't sell because:
a) sometimes the music does suck
b) we all get the feeling of being ripped off when paying 20 EUR+ for any CD or DVD, especially knowing how much of that goes to the artist
c) trying stuff is something you have to do. Would you by a new pair of trousers without trying them first? Would you buy a car you never drove?
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