Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Economics of P2P File-Sharing

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the give-and-take dept.

The Almighty Buck 236

brajesh writes "Does P2P file-sharing really affect music sales and in what ways? According to a blog entry at "The Long Tail", a paper from David Blackburn[.pdf], a Harvard PhD student, on the economics of P2P file-sharing concludes that it does indeed depress music sales overall. But the effect is not felt evenly. The hits at the top of the charts lose sales, but the niche artists further down the popularity curve actually benefit from file-trading. Form the paper - "Artists who are unknown, and thus most helped by file sharing, are those artists who sell relatively few albums, whereas artists who are harmed by file sharing and thus gain from its removal, the popular ones, are the artists whose sales are relatively high." But then "File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records, and if the success of the mega-star artists is what drives the investment in new acts, it might reduce the incentive to invest in new talent. This is, at its heart, an empirical question which is left to future work." There is also another compilation of studies on economics of P2P."

cancel ×

236 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Here come the flames! (5, Funny)

udderly (890305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118510)

The hits at the top of the charts lose sales, but the niche artists further down the popularity curve actually benefit from file-trading.

From each according to his abilities; to each according to his need. Lighten up--it's a joke!

Re:Here come the flames! (5, Funny)

eyebits (649032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118518)

You are making Ayn roll in her grave. :)

Re:Here come the flames! (5, Funny)

udderly (890305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118523)

Udderly shrugged.

Re:Here come the flames! (1)

eyebits (649032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118540)

An Anthem with a different tune. :)

Re:Here come the flames! (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118634)

Don't have a cow. Stop milking it. That's Galt for now.

Re:Here come the flames! (1)

publius_jr (808330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118908)

The probability of achieving mod-points decreases exponentially with the depth in which the post lies in the tree. By the blandness of your pun, I assume that you posted with the aim, & solely that aim, of achieving mod-points. I therefore have no blush when I say that your post is utterly worthless.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! (in the spirit of thanksgiving, go massacre those you provided your meal!!!

Re:Here come the flames! (5, Interesting)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119099)

So, teen pop shiiat loses sales, but real musicians find their audience with P2P. No wonder the RIAA hates it. You can't snooker people who get to try before they buy. P2P makes it much harder to rip off children, which has been the recording industry's MO almost since Edison invented the phonograph. Don't buy CDs! [dontbuycds.org]

Shocking! Bigfoot discovered. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118513)

No posts? People must be reading the PDF in disbelief?

--
The "are you a script" word for today is reread.

In other words... (4, Funny)

Egregius (842820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118514)

P2P file sharing is the right thing to do...it's socialist.

Re:In other words... (3, Insightful)

h2gofast (934016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118570)

nothing socialist about file-sharing. socialism is government being mommy and daddy providing for needs, controlling and subsidizing unprofitable industry, and promoting mediocrity. file-sharing is breaking laws that make it tough for independent bands to compete with brittany spears, marilyn manson and whatever major act is being promoted through major media channels. This distribution model is broken, it doesn't serve the artists, the fans, or foster creativity and innovation. Take a good look at how the recording industry operates, it's not a monopoly any more than microsoft is a monopoly. Bill Gates has nothing on these guys. I'm not saying the music should be free, I am saying that the recording industry needs to be brought down to erect a new business model where the recording artist are the profit center, not the recording industry. Socialism my ass, this is a Revolution.

Re:In other words... (2, Insightful)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118679)

What rubbish. Socialism promotes nothing of the kind. It was a socialist/communist nation that put the first man into space. Hardly a mediocre achievement. Bureaucracy and inefficiency are not a uniquely socialist phenomenon as anyone who's worked for a large corporation can easily see.

Re:In other words... (4, Insightful)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118825)

> socialism is government being mommy and daddy providing for needs, controlling and subsidizing unprofitable industry, and promoting mediocrity.

No, it is not. It is what opponents associate with socialism. Especially, when phrased the way you do. If formulated less biased, it can be one form of socialism. (Statecontrolled production with social-security networks)

> I'm not saying the music should be free, I am saying that the recording industry needs to be brought down to erect a new business model where the recording artist are the profit center, not the recording industry. Socialism my ass, this is a Revolution.

Bringing the owning class down and to empower those people actually working in some kind of revolution for the common good is a traditional socialist position. And even one of the more radical one. Calling it business model is nothing more than a fig leaf.

Re:In other words... (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118580)

How the heck can it be socialist? If anything it's anti-socialist and, since everything is tied back to economic profits, it's moreso communist.

Investment in new acts? (5, Insightful)

thrills33ker (740062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118515)

"File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records, and if the success of the mega-star artists is what drives the investment in new acts, it might reduce the incentive to invest in new talent."

So what this is saying is, P2P helps smaller independent artists and is detrimental to large "manufactured" pop acts. Which is pretty much common sense, and is why the corporate music industry is so against it.

The argument that "lack of investment" will produce a shortage of talent is clearly ridiculous. How many of the great, truly talented acts we all know and love were the product of "investment" by the music industry? And how many struggled in poverty for years because they loved making music, before finally being signed up by a label and exploited for all they were worth...?

Re:Investment in new acts? (3, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118584)

"How many of the great, truly talented acts we all know and love were the product of "investment" by the music industry? And how many struggled in poverty for years because they loved making music, before finally being signed up by a label and exploited for all they were worth...?"

It's called an investment. If you don't like the way record labels are investing their money then why don't you start your own record label and show us all how it's done? Hell, why don't you answer your own question instead of simply leaving it as an assumed suggestion that your second option is the only possible answer?

The paper's argument is correct in its analysis. If P2P helps smaller artists by giving away their work then it's goingto be extremely difficult to jump from there to asking people to pay for music they traditionally got for free. The internet has proven that pay services don't work if the service was free initially. Even the New York Times' free subscription sends many slashbots into fits of rage.

Re:Investment in new acts? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118663)

"It's called an investment."

Actually, what the labels are engaged in is called rent-seeking. Something that differs from the concept of investment in several important aspects.

Re:Investment in new acts? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118685)

I just bought a CD from Laibach ($CDN34)... that I already downloaded several weeks ago.

Re:Investment in new acts? (3, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118721)

The vast majority of "investment" funds by record labels goes into promotion and antiquated distribution mechanisms. But their expensive forms of promotion are driven by the needs their particular business model.

Without the labels as middlemen who shift 90% of the overall revenue into overhead costs, artists would need little if any outside "investment". Now that publishing music no longer technically requires centralized control, the industry should move to a system where artists do direct online sales through independent low-overhead sites. Instead of signing their copyrights over to middlemen, they would hire them as needed. In this new efficient market, the artists will make far more money, and the music will be much cheaper for consumers to buy.

Re:Investment in new acts? (2, Insightful)

thrills33ker (740062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118809)

Hell, why don't you answer your own question instead of simply leaving it as an assumed suggestion that your second option is the only possible answer?

It's called a rhetorical question.

The paper's argument is correct in its analysis. If P2P helps smaller artists by giving away their work then it's goingto be extremely difficult to jump from there to asking people to pay for music they traditionally got for free. The internet has proven that pay services don't work if the service was free initially. Even the New York Times' free subscription sends many slashbots into fits of rage.

With pay services you are paying for convenience, not the product itself. E.g. you might discover an act via P2P, then go to a pay site and pay a modest fee to download the whole album in a decent-quality encoding, complete with cover art. The success of iTunes shows that this model certainly does work, even in the face of competition from free P2P services. As for the NYT, thats an objection to unecessary collection of personal data - completely irrelevant to this discussion.

Re:Investment in new acts? (2, Insightful)

Nice2Cats (557310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118853)

Even the New York Times' free subscription sends many slashbots into fits of rage.

Which is strange because they will happily pay for most other forms of fiction...

Seriously, the "NYT" has far more serious problems at the moment than the way they deliver their product, such as the product itself. If there was ever a time to open up to keep as many readers as they can, it is now.

Re:Investment in new acts? (2, Funny)

Poltras (680608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118880)

Now the funniest part of "Hell, why don't you answer your own question instead of simply leaving it as an assumed suggestion that your second option is the only possible answer?" is probably that you make the same thing. That's what we call rhetorical questioning... want a drawing or you're bright enough to understand?

Re:Investment in new acts? (0, Troll)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119040)

No, my question was not rhetorical. I honestly expect him to back up his accusations with facts. Want a drawing or are you bright enough to understand?

Missing the point (4, Interesting)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119053)

If you don't like the way record labels are investing their money then why don't you start your own record label and show us all how it's done?

Talking about not hearing the other sides argument. The point is that small artists don't *need* a record label any more. So we don't care how they invest their money - except that suing grandmothers doesn't seem like the best use.

We also have the classic "free" vs. "free" equivocation. I don't want to get music for free. I want to support the artist. But I much prefer to buy albums directly from the artists. And I hate stupid restrictions. "Liberian Acapella" is one of my favorites. They sing at churches and sell their self produced albums. I have many albums from Magnatune [magnatune.com] (a "record label" that does distribution only). Another favorite is David Bellugi from Italy.

That said, I am a copyright Nazi. I confiscate and destroy illegally copied RIAA music whenever I find it, give my teenage daughters a lecture on "playing by their rules if your going to listen to their music", and threaten to take the $3000 out of their bank account if they get caught distributing copies (I realize the lawsuits are for online distribution, but the principal is the same). Of course, the fact that I can't stand most of the music has *nothing* to do with this...

What I really need is some official RIAA materials on copyright violation, so that we can be clear that the copyright Nazi thing is part and parcel of RIAA music, and not something I am making up.

Re:Investment in new acts? (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118636)

"File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records, and if the success of the mega-star artists is what drives the investment in new acts, it might reduce the incentive to invest in new talent." So what this is saying is, P2P helps smaller independent artists and is detrimental to large "manufactured" pop acts. Which is pretty much common sense, and is why the corporate music industry is so against it.
Indeed. What it is saying, is that small acts may no longer actually need that investment and backing from the labels in order to make a decent living off their music. Small acts may now be able to make it on their own... and at the very least they will not have to sell themselves into slavery in order to get their music published. That's why the industry is so much against it, because it just might make them obsolete.

the not so nice way to state the obvious (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118637)

What he's really saying is that you have to suppress all other acts to have the mega-stupid star sell millions of albums. Without a choke point, such as broadcast radio of the 20th century, there is no ability to focus pop culture and it drifts where it will.

This will be good for everyone but the current three monopoly publishers. Popular taste will do a better job of finding talent than payolla in the form of coke and whores. A more distributed music distribution system will be more competitive for artists and the money that now flows into a few hands will flow into many. The job will get done and people will still pay the piper.

Re:the not so nice way to state the obvious (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118836)

Agreed. The problem is that there are many problems. One the profit model for current music sales is completely misrepresented here. Case in point record labels see singles as produced commercials for artists to promote their live shows (for validation check out the hairband videos of the 80s-90s they are commercials for concerts). Hence, labels make money from singles/records artist from concerts.

Labels don't understand the critisms like those posted here. Labels see the agreement with the "artist" or "band" as whats described above. So when people start in on the "artist never made money and died poor OD'ed in a gutter arguement" as the labels call it, the labels just say the artist asked for it so he could be famous and then roll their eyez.

The current model does not intend for artists to make money off of record sales but instead see the "singles" as commercials that the record companys payroll and make money off of. The artists benefit from the "fame" of the songs and use that to fill arenas. Where the artists make their money.

Now anyone with a f*in brain can see this as the most backwards dumb@ss things that art could have done to its self. One, artists are not motivated to make music that innovates instead they are motivated to make music that sells. Innovation does not sell -the commercialization of innovation is what sells. Now artists that sell well are given a higher status then artists who
don't recycle the same profitable "hooks" and "themes/styles" well enough to push records.

This leads to plastic saturation. This is why the current music seen is retro and directionless they have nothing left to rip off. The model squeezes out the innovative artists who craft new styles that the "scum" artist traditionally, rip off and cookiecut these innovations into their Disney movies and or Disney "artist". No innovation and only "sales" driven art, leads to retro played out music on the radio.

Another thing to consider. Fans also have done terrible damage to the art form of music. One, fans have re enforced the current model by how they spend their money. Case in point here, if an artist wishes to make money from writing music and not performing then the artist is just flat out of luck (except by definition is not the rule or the common). Imagine this model "forced" on other artistic mediums like say movies where certain things could not and would not be allowed in a story because in order for the "fans" to believe in the honesty and purity of the story, the story would have to be re enacted night after night in city to city.
Artist then could not include special effects in their stories because they could not be performed "live" and where therefore "impure".

What needs to happen is that art needs to re affirm its self. Art now is made by artists who's vision are on money, fame and mechanical innovation.
Art losses its truth when it has no spirituality no supernatural -good or evil. If the life of the artist is meaningless or of miniscule meaning then so will be their art. Art was, by the definition it presented its self under,
supposed to add to the listeners a element of supernatural or deeper truth.
Now it seems to be "standards/covers/samples", "temper tantrums" "statist polical agendas/love of dictators like Castro" or "ego trips" none of which seems to have anything to do with art or people.

Re:Investment in new acts? (1)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118837)

For the most part, giant recording studios buy out the contracts of successful artists from small labels.

I don't think there will be any lack of investment. What will happen is that the small labels will continue to discover new acts, and the big studios will continue to try to buy contracts from the small labels. However, now the small labels have more incentive to hang onto their successful acts, and the big studios will have less and less capital to throw at performers. What'll end up happening is that small labels will see a greater return as their successful acts become more successful under their wings.

Put simply, there will be a shift of wealth distribution from the big companies to the small ones.

Re:Investment in new acts? (1)

publius_jr (808330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118927)

Quote: "...Which is pretty much common sence..."

Yeah, but he went to Harvard.

Re:Investment in new acts? (1)

Busy (890287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119044)

Disclaimer: I am 100% pro-file-sharing and I can't wait for the current music system to flop.

With that said, I believe the "lack of investment" argument refers to the fact that some of the extra profits from the most popular record sales are used to invest in less popular artists (also signed to the same label). Some of them don't make money or even incur loss, in hopes that they'll "catch on" and be the next big thing. Catching artist early like that also makes it easier to lock them into long-term, exploitative contracts.

Under that logic, it makes some sense as an arguement, but only under the dying/outdated system of music distribution.

Disclaimer: I am 100% pro-file-sharing and I can't wait for the current music system to flop.

Hopes (4, Insightful)

nnnneedles (216864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118517)

Hopefully this will move the industry somewhat away from acts such as Britney Spears (which traditionally have much higher profit margins and lower risk than smaller acts) and towards a business model that is wrapped around greater diversity and the continual sale of older music (which they usually drop the ball on fast, in order to focus the public on the newer mega acts).

Maybe the records industry could somehow start promoting clusters of artists and whole genres instead of one mega artist? Hmm..

Promote? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118531)

Dont you mean "suck dry"?

Re:Hopes (1)

narooze (845310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118576)

"Hopefully this will move the industry somewhat away from acts such as Britney Spears"

It almost certainly will not. The music industry is only interested in generating as much money as fast as possible, which is a lot easier with songs that are catchy than with song that are genuinely good.

Re:Hopes (2, Funny)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118630)

Hm. I always thought using Britney Spears to sell CD's was kind of like putting porn pictures in a crappy poetry book to make it a best seller.

Re:Hopes (1)

mickyflynn (842205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118646)

they tried that with "punk" and "grunge." The effects were disaterous. As soon as "popular culture" gets ahold of something, it becomes little more than a fashion when it was once a way of life. Frankly, it's best if the major labels stay the hell away from the independent punk/hardcore/et cetera acts and they continue to make D.I.Y. a way of life for themselves and the fans in their local scenes. screw corporate music. Just look at Dropkick Murphys. They used to be hard-core bad-ass now they're just a flogging molly rip-off.

the industry has their priorities wrong (5, Insightful)

tomcres (925786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118682)

They should spend their money scouting for the next Pink Floyd rather than trying to manufacture more Britney Spears. Think about it, Britney Spears may sell millions of records, but for how long? 10 years max? Pink Floyd was selling platinum or better for almost 30 years. Plus, you don't have to do as much promotion. People will buy Pink Floyd because it's good music, and it has appeal across generations and genders. Britney Spears' audience is so narrow you could fit it through a pinhole--adolescent and pre-adolescent girls.

I think the industry's biggest problem is a lack of diversity. Right now, everything on mainstream radio sounds exactly the same. Even ten years ago, radio was still crap, but at least you could differentiate the music better. Personally, I rarely even listen to the radio at all anymore, and when I do, it's a classic rock station.

Record companies want to go with what's "safe" these days. No one wants to take a risk on signing and promoting an artist that's "different." However, the big rewards come with big risk. I really wish these huge, billionaire conglomerates like WEA and SonyBMG would gamble a little bit more. They're actually losing a lot of good acts who are moving to smaller labels like Koch and Sanctuary. Audium (a Koch label) has become one of the best labels in country music by signing artists who got cut by the majors, like Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, and Dale Watson. Sanctuary is now home to the likes of Iron Maiden and Morrissey, two of England's best sellers ever, who still are putting out good albums. It just kills me how labels will not settle for "just" platinum anymore. You have to go multi-platinum to be a success now. I remember how Capitol was getting disappointed with Garth Brooks when his albums started selling "only" two million copies. This is the same Garth Brooks who single-handedly saved Capitol/EMI from bankruptcy with No Fences and Ropin' the Wind, each of which sold something like over 10 million two consecutive years. He had the top 3 albums in the U.S. for over a year. But if he's only two-times platinum and not ten-times platinum, then he's no good to Capitol! This is the kind of moronic thinking that drives the recording industry. It is pure, unadulterated greed. So much greed that it completely clouds any sensibility they might have.

Re:the industry has their priorities wrong (2, Funny)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118789)

It is pure, unadulterated greed. So much greed that it completely clouds any sensibility they might have.

Welcome to the USA. And it's only getting better.

Re:the industry has their priorities wrong (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118869)

Britney Spears' audience is so narrow you could fit it through a pinhole--adolescent and pre-adolescent girls.

You forgot 50-year old men. And most of them are not narrow.

Re:Hopes (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118814)

"Maybe the records industry could somehow start promoting clusters of artists and whole genres instead of one mega artist? Hmm.."

The Highwaymen, Travelling Wilburys, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Los Super Seven... ?

Balancing the scales (4, Insightful)

Graham1982 (933841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118532)

Perhpas this is a good thing in the sense that the lesser known artist has a chance to rise up and even out with the more popular artist. Most of the songs I download are not mainstream anyway, why? Because I can turn on the radio or the TV if I want to hear those artists. P2P gives me a chance to search out further for something that might really inspire me. Just because your not on MTv does not mean your music blows. The quality of mainstream music is starting to wear me down lately anyway.

Re:Balancing the scales (1)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118587)

"Just because your not on MTv does not mean your music blows."

More like just because you're in MTV does not mean your music blows. But then it'd be lying, so just don't take notice and fast foward to the next comment.

Re:Balancing the scales (1)

geodescent (871514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118829)

Sadly, most of the people I know refuse to even try anything that's not a "sure bet." This is why Spears and other annoying acts are famous. This is also why great movies do poorly. Common America cannot stomach even a minor risk. You can lead the cows to water but....

It's here and it isn't going away (4, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118538)

"Nothing, not all the armies of the world, can stop an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo

P2P is here. It's not going away and you can't even legislate it out of existance. For right or wrong, there is nothing the various copyright industries can do except adapt to the change. Everything else is just hot air.

Simon

Taking it like a victim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118593)

"For right or wrong, there is nothing the various copyright industries can do except adapt to the change. "

Or just stop producing content to the greedy and disrespectful. Funny how all the "your information wants to be free" advocates forget that option. They just expect the gravy train to never stop, and content producers to just stand there and get kicked in the nuts, then smile and ask for more.

Re:Taking it like a victim. (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118604)

Or just stop producing content
Yes. Please do. Make the fat music execs go out and work for a living doing something productive.

Re:Taking it like a victim. (4, Insightful)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118689)

I hope they do.

Free market ensures that if some fat exec having a hissy fit says 'I'm not playing with you anymore', someone else will be happy to provide the same service (probably at lower cost).

If P2P kills huge record monopolies, and instead we have numerous small companies who make money from selling CDs and un-DRMed downloads *regardless* of P2P, that's free market pwning artificial monopolies right there.

It might very well be that current huge and bloated 'content creation industry' will be 'damaged' by P2P, but it's luridicious to claim that everyone would stop making music, movies and TV just because of P2P's 'effect' on making money with the content.

I'm still convinced that if the 'content business' would just bite the bullet, restructure to lower expectations (their current legal offerings are grossly overpriced) and instead put down unDRMed DL service with all the content in the world, at uber download speeds, they'd make gigabucks *regardless* of the fact that people would copy the stuff. Why bother with P2P sites and untrustworthy files if you can get a 'legal' proper version, perfect quality, no strings, use as you like within the framework of current law, at a reasonable price?

I know if my choices were 'DL from uberfast official site, 10Mbit/sec, perfect quality, 3-5$ for the full contents of a DVD, ready to be burned to disc if I so choose' and 'grab dvdrip with no extras off P2P at crappy speed and no guarantee of quality', I'd pay a few bucks for no hassle.

Fat execs are unable to grasp the effect of internet and plentiful bandwidth. Their 'product' is PURE DATA, so *gasp*, internet will make distribution of said data much more efficient than their stupid 'manufacture shiny discs' business model.

Current record exces sound like scribes whining when someone invented the printing press, and started mass-producing books that earlier had to be scribed by hand (and were extremely expensive and rare). Today's internet makes reproducing of entertainment so much more efficient and cheaper, so those CD presses belong to the museum, and as costs go down, so must the prices. CD presses had so huge upfront investment required that the companies could create an efficient monopoly. Anyone can trump up a website, and while today the bandwidth is still not free, I expect the price of it to go down so rapidly that in a few years bandwidth costs of sending 10 GB movie file over the internet is fractions of a cent.

In which case you can no longer charge 20$ for a copy of a movie.

Movie theaters are in a deep doodoo as well. They will have to improve presentation quality and service - to make it more like a 'special thing' that movies used to be back at the start of the last century. Improving home theaters are pwning crap theaters, and their offering of 10$ movie showing + overpriced soda is no longer attractive to the customer. ADAPT OR DIE, just like every other business has to.

ADAPT OR DIE (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118841)

I'd like to believe you. But I just have this feeling that saying, "ADAPT OR DIE!" to a multi-billionaire is not a personally productive operation. In the long run, that billionaire will have to ADAPT OR DIE, but in the short and medium run, he's going to cause a pile of angst and disruption while he preserves his own comfort zone. Who knows, in the long run, that billionaire may well help take the United States into third-world status. That's really the net effect of things like the "Induce Act," because it's the US turning its back on technology in favor of a misguided attempt to preserve the entertainment industry's business model. Add to that the Religious Right's war on science, and you have the US going the way of the Moslem empire a millenium or so ago.

Re:ADAPT OR DIE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118936)

that billionaire may well help take the United States into third-world status.
That's fine, just move somewhere else.

Re:Taking it like a victim. (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118887)

Well perhaps I'm the exception to the rule, but I actually like shiny discs. I may rip them and play them off my computer most of the time, but I like owning the disc and being able to take it anywhere I like. To stick it in my CD player. To know that short of running over it(which I've done on occasion), it will be there even if my PC crashes. That may just be me though.

I also find it incredibly amusing when Americans complain about paying $20 for a movie or $15 for a CD, or $50 for brand new game. Now don't get me wrong, I used to do it to when I lived there, but after spending a year paying $20 for a CD $30 for a movie, and $100 for a video game(explain that one to me), and that's at the cheaper places, I've started to realize that most of the world would happily stop pirating if they could just pay the local equivilant of American prices.

Let me repeat that for any record execs who might possibly read this, most people in the rest of the world would gladly buy your product if you charged the local equivilant of what you do in the US. I know that would hit into your profits, and that some people would start exporting CD's from cheap countries to the states, but that's life.

Re:Taking it like a victim. (1)

6*7 (193752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118990)

"I know if my choices were 'DL from uberfast official site, 10Mbit/sec, perfect quality, 3-5$ for the full contents of a DVD, ready to be burned to disc if I so choose' and 'grab dvdrip with no extras off P2P at crappy speed and no guarantee of quality', I'd pay a few bucks for no hassle."

If you do a little searching you can find (community) sites with high quality (scene) dvdrips to download at speeds able to saturate a 10Mbps connection. Free, available now (even before the DVD is in the store).

This will not change when the "record" companies finally "see the light". They will just find out that their downloadable content is getting distributed by these alternative free sites. Unless they stuff their content with DRM, unique watermarks, special applications/players and the likes.

Taking it like a victim.-P2P police. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14119073)

"Free market ensures that if some fat exec having a hissy fit says 'I'm not playing with you anymore', someone else will be happy to provide the same service (probably at lower cost)."

Free market might(1). But a market policed by the P2P vigilante police will not. What content provider* is going to insert themselves into a market govern by "know it alls" who arbitrarily set limits (make too much, or rise too far beyound your status in life) and if you don't "conform" to them, distribute your content all over the planet, and give you the middle finger when you complain. You may enjoy being raped by your fellow men, but most artists don't. And will (unhappily maybe) take jobs in other professions that aren't as hard for the disrespectful, and selfish to exploit. You can continue to belive such nonsense like "sticking it to the man", but that isn't the person your actions are hurting, and karma will eventually show you the error of your ways. Problem is the truely innocent will have to suffer right along with you, and THAT is truely not fair.

*les you forget, illegal copyright violations aren't confined to music, or movies. The people who do this have no shame, and respect no boundaries. They take from the small and big, and scorn both equally.

(1) Free market, you know that sytem you all choose to not avail yourselves of. You don't vote with your dollars (you download, and then complain), and you don't set up legally santioned systems .e.g.your own business to inequalities. You expect others to do the hard work for you.

Re:It's here and it isn't going away (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118793)

It's been a few years since I read Les Miserables (a translation - my French isn't good enough for the original), but I seem to remember that the line you quoted was said by the leader of the revolution a couple of days before he and all of his friends were killed...

Bring the niche (4, Insightful)

bbzzdd (769894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118539)

Artists who are unknown, and thus most helped by file sharing

For the past 50-years the only way to be a "successful" musician was to write songs 2:50 long and sell 500,000 records. Ever wonder why everything on the radio sounds the same? If an artist can't break even, they're pretty much worthless in the eye of the label.

Legitimate online digital distribution of music could possibly replace the notion of rock stars with micro-stars in their respected genres. There just needs to be some sort of way to market these niche artists online so the cream rises to the top. A group who could make 80% off of their recordings is not so bad off considering the average signed artist only sees 5 - 15% per record.

Re:Bring the niche (3, Insightful)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118911)

> There just needs to be some sort of way to market these niche artists online

You mean something like... a record label?

Naah, that won't work. After reading this thread I've learned that running a record label involves a lot of being sucking blood and fucking people who don't deserve it. Oh, and being fat. Apparently musicians run on pure sucrose and signing them just turns you into some sort of serial vampire rapist. It's like Anne Rice on Viagra and corn syrup.

Proposition : tax the ISP (0)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118559)

So the big majors can not invest in new talents ? Let's tax the ISP and, instead of giving this tax money to the big majors, create a fund for artists :) So we'll invest in new talents.

Re:Proposition : tax the ISP (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118598)

That doesn't work. We already pay a tax on blank media but yet the RIAA still sues us for burning to it.

Re:Proposition : tax the ISP (2, Interesting)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118745)

Let's tax the ISP and, instead of giving this tax money to the big majors, create a fund for artists

IMHO it's a bad idea in general to tax internet connectivity (other than perhaps VAT, that is). I wondered once why hooking up to the 'net must cost anything at all. If you and your neighbour decide to exchange data (and arrange that yourself), why should you have to pay anyone for that?

The answer is: you don't. Between you and your neighbour, you'd have to pay for the connecting hardware. And similarly, you don't pay an ISP for data flowing in or out, you really pay them for setup and maintenance costs of the network equipment. The amount of data you move just may be a factor in deciding that cost.

Taxing ISP's to support artists, sort of attaches a flat-fee price tag to all music downloads (or even any download). Which is stupid. Shouldn't it be between you and the artist to decide what you pay for their music? Let us please keep governments (and ISP's) out of that equation.

Without P2P file sharing, it is costly to be popular. Become very popular, and face the need for heavy (costly) internet servers/bandwidth. P2P file sharing takes that pain away, you can be popular without bearing the distribution costs.

What I think would really benefit online music sales, would be a ubiqitous, easy to use, safe (and possibly anonymous) micro-payment system. Something that would allow any artist to hook up easily, and allow any casual downloader to hit a button, and throw a small amount of money their way.
I know there are some widely used systems (PayPal comes to mind), but each of those still have some important drawbacks. Small online payments that are easy to use for anyone simply aren't here yet.

Who cares if Brittney loses potential. (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118560)

When the rest of the 'food chain' below her benefits, who cares if the one at the top, with more then they need anyway, misses out on a few potential sales.

Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales.

Who cares if I get what I want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118701)

"When the rest of the 'food chain' below her benefits, who cares if the one at the top, with more then they need anyway, misses out on a few potential sales."

Well aren't we the envious one. Geeks didn't see any problem with being the top dog, making more than they needed during the dot.com boom. But when it's someone else who has risen above their "class", and is rewarded for their time and effort. Then the P2P vigilantes come out of the woodwork. Stings double when no one wants to go into your profession, the rest is being outsourced, and OSS is kicking the crap out of the remainder. We've been telling you all on this forum for years on how to set the situation right, and the best you all have so far came up with is "complain on slashdot","illegal copyright violations from the safety of my basement", and "suggestions" you expect others to impliment, because you all sure as hell will not.

"Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales".

Since we're remembering things:

"We would never have bought it anyway". Kind of shoots down the "free advertising","we're potential customers", and my favourite "it benefits the artists".

but here it is, the article (3, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118714)

the headline says it's provable: Harvard PhD student, on the economics of P2P file-sharing concludes that it does indeed depress music sales overall

Re:Who cares if Brittney loses potential. (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118726)

Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales.

That's an incredibly bogus argument if I've ever heard one. What you say could apply to any service related business. Is it OK to say, force a dentist to work on somebody at gunpoint? After all, he wouldn't *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' sales. How about stealing information from a database that somebody took time and money to collect and collate? They're not *losing* anything, since they still have the data, right?

Re:Who cares if Brittney loses potential. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118823)

Is it OK to say, force a dentist to work on somebody at gunpoint? After all, he wouldn't *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' sales.

THAT is different... while the dentist could be making money working on another patient, he cant while being held at gunpoint... I think that was how it went...


How about stealing information from a database that somebody took time and money to collect and collate? They're not *losing* anything, since they still have the data, right?

You call his arguments bogus? I can't make sense of this at all.


Re:People almost ALWAYS forget this... (2, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119043)

Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales.

When every anyone argues that nothing is stolen, meaning that nothing is physically taken, they always seem to overlook one key factor...the person involved in the acquisition unquestionably now has something of value in their possession. I'd like to see someone justify the notion that by virtue of the fact that Persion A has created something of value, that Person B is automatically is entitled to whatever benefit it may bring.

I'm not a fan of the *AA monopoly at all, but I do think the entitlement mentality that seems to be a large part of the p2p ethos, is rather repugnant.

Good (5, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118561)

What this means is that being a musician will no longer be a multi-million dollar a year job. It will be a job that pays only thousands of dollars a year, the same thing "the rest of us" get paid. And it also means that more people will be able to be musicians, as opposed to now where being a musician for a living is very difficult. I'll definitely take many musicians making many songs and each making enough money to pay rent over a few musicians making a few songs and making enough to pay everyone's rent. Ask yourself which of these two makes a better society.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118622)

As a musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society. Take your utopian level playing field and shove it up your ass.

As a musician, I understand that P2P can be 100% instrumental in building marketshare, mindshare, and building an audience base that I can exploit by making touring a potentially profitable activity, rather than slumming it out on a couch or in the van night after night of playing two-bit shitholes. Using the internet, myspace in particular, my music reaches a pretty decent audience, and when it's time to hit the road, the system of "friends" in various towns ensures tour support and a buddy system (you help us in your town, when you come through ours, we're there for you). But, let's also be real. If at any given time a major record label were to come up to me and offer me high 6's or even a 7 digit contract to do things their way, you bet your sweet ass I, and my band, would sign that in a heartbeat. It's not our goal, it's not our dream, but if offered, we'd take it. And if that means the radio is filled full of Britney Spears and god-awful Nu-Metal, then by all means: do it. People like you bitch incessantly about how godawful Britney & co are, but someone's buying the stupid fucking records. It's like people who bitch about windows, and yet how much money did MS make from Windows last year? Someone's buying it. Hell, as a relevant corollary, I'm also a programmer. I'd rather see a system that allows for a Microsoft to exist than a giant population of "living-wage" programmers. It's that incentive to over-achieve, or even getting "lucky" that appeals to many people.

Bah, it's time to go to bed. Fucking rock-star lifestyle.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118661)

I've seen some great musicians go completely without notice.
Here in the states, they only want you to buy the music that THEY can make a profit on. They don't want you buying anything other than the top sellers, so that they can sell more, and make MORE people think that the CD must be awesome. The notion of "It sells well, so it MUST be better" is bullshit, but society buys into it. Once we get rid of that, things will be just fine, because people will actually find new music they like, rather than this pop shit they push out.

And yes, I know how hard it is to play an instrument. But most of today's popular artists don't even do THAT. Basically all they do is sit there and look pretty, and maybe sing a bit. That's about the extent of it.

Re:Good (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118724)

I've seen a bunch of great acts disappear, as well. And I've seen a bunch of acts toil their entire lives in a little corner of mediocrity, self-indulgent in their "We'll never sell-out" when the fact was: no one was buying anyway.

Here in the states, we have a system where you can CHOOSE the path you wish to go down. There are plenty of pretty-boy/girl bands with almost zero talent out there, but get produced, glossied up, some dance moves, and sell 10 million records. There's also quite a few of those bands that don't make it. The guy that was behind all those boy bands of the 90s, I can't remember his name, but he's got (or had) a school down in florida with 20 more, just like em. Who the hell were they? I have no idea. SO even the "purpose made" bands can fail.

The RIAA would like to have monopoly status on distribution. Of course they would. The reality is: they don't. I put out a record last year on a record label so small with a press run so small that it'd probably almost count as a demo. I never said that just because it "sells well, so it MUST be better", btw, I just said that someone's out there buying that garbage, and those millions encourage the record labels to take a few risks here and there in trying to find the next Nirvana, or even Smashing Pumpkins, or Nine Inch Nails, or some other "blood-sweat-n-tears" band. What I'm saying is, instead of bashing Britney Spears and that manufactured garbage, just don't buy the record. I'm sure you haven't bought them anyway, right? And it's not hurt the RIAA's bottom line, as made obvious by the enormous amount of Britney Spears that are sold every year. But those BS records (hrm, nice pun) make it possible that the powers that be might, just might, hear my band, or a friend's band, and say "Hey, we want to expand more into that direction" and it's like winning a lottery. I'll be glad to tell any "fair-weather" friend to go fuck themselves for bailing on a band over what label puts out the music. Hell, nothing pissed me off more than to hear the belly-aching over Green Day, a band that the punk scene wanted OUT of the scene, going to a major. And I'm betting Billy Joe is laughing all the way to the bank. He lost the respect by gaming a system he wasn't supposed to be playing. That's punk as fuck.

People are finding music they like, everyday. It's not my or your fault that some people don't like putting an effort into finding "alternatives" to mainstream music that might be "Even better". shit, let's put an end to Romance novels and force Bukowski and Vonnegut down everyone's throat while we're at it! Again: Millions of people think Britney Spears is just fine, whether it's the image, her "catchy tunes", or what, it's none of my business and certainly not in my best interests to deride anyone about their taste in music.

Not all musicians are assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118750)

So what you're saying is that you are happy to live your life like a self-centered asshole without any strong principles nor love of your audience, and you justify your lack of a moral position and your support of a corrupt industry on the grounds of "someone is buying the crap".

Well I have news for you. Not all musicians are self-centered assholes.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118776)

As a musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society. Take your utopian level playing field and shove it up your ass.

As a non-musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society. Lets abolish all copyrights and motivate musicians into making music by raking them over hot coals if they don't. If they complain, let's remind them that it was their idea own idea to shove the utopian ideal of a level playing field up someones ass.

Or you can give a fuck about making a better society and I can give a fuck about it, in which case we both might get a better deal, or at least conduct a more constructive conversation. This is what the various copyright industries never seem to get: if you don't give a fuck when it's not your ass on the line, don't except anyone else to give a fuck when it is.

Re:Good (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118943)

and if I was a powerful corporation with a lot to lose if copyrights were abolished, here is how I would answer to you:

As a powerful corporation I don't give a fuck about making society better. I only give a fuck about removing appearences of choices from the public view because as a powerful corporation I make more money when there are fewer choices available. No matter what kind of entity I am - a diamond cartel, an oil cartel, a music distributor, a pharmaceutical a newspaper or a giant search engine, at the end I need to instill the following idea into the heads of consumers: you have no choice but to buy from Me.

I must instill this idea into the very fabric of society and to achieve this goal I will do anything at all including and not limited to paying off government officials, making contributions to political parties, murder, genocide. The means do not matter as long as I get closer to my goal. And I will fight to kill with anything that stands on my way.

Re:Good (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118868)

It's that incentive to over-achieve, or even getting "lucky" that appeals to many people.

If that is what is needed to motivate creativity, that is a very sad statement. It is even worse than that: people who count on getting "lucky" as their motivation are deluded and living in a fantasy world disconnected from reality. It is the same as buying a lottery ticket: one out of a million may win big, but for all practical purposes you won't. To base your life on the slim chance that you might win the lottery, such as getting deep in debt by buying things you can't afford, is foolish. The chances of someone becoming the next Britney Spears are much less than winning a lottery ticket.

Perhaps you should step back and ask yourself why you are doing it. If it is not because you love to do it, then you are living irrationally and should give it up. Otherwise you are bound to be disappointed, becoming bitter and disillusioned as you grow old. If you are doing it for the love of it, continue to do it and expect nothing else. You'll be much happier that way.

Re:Good (1)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118884)

"It's like people who bitch about windows, and yet how much money did MS make from Windows last year? Someone's buying it."

Yeah, the OEMs are forced to install it and their customers are forced to buy it with their new PCs. There is no choice, as everyone here knows.

So I don't know whether that's a bad analogy or not - radio stations are forced by the Recording Industry to play a tightly controlled selection of tracks to maximise exposure of a handful of mega-artistes.

Perhaps the fact that people are buying the stupid fucking records is not as simple a choice as we think.

Hmmm (4, Insightful)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118562)

"File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records"

How about file sharing is allowing people to sample the artificial crap the music industry churns out these days and they decide not to waste their money on the product?

Re:Hmmm (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118896)

To sample out crap you don't need to infringe on anyone's copyrights. Heck, radio can be used for this quite well and it is 100 percent legal.

Wouldn't it be just wonderful if everyone on P2P networks stopped downloading/uploading/illegaly distributing copyrighted works? Instead of violating copyrights by sharing popular products (be it music, video, books or software) those P2P users could be sharing works that are meant to be shared by the authors/distributors. Small music bands, small software companies, unknown writers etc. would benefit from this greately and the music/movie/whatever industry would have their wish granted: no illegal copies of their property would be distributed without their consent.

This would make all this stupid piracy buzz go away, would provide great value for lesser known authors and would be completely legal and moral.

Is it likely to happen? No. So that is why these industries are fighting illegal distribution of their copyrighted works and I salute them in this losing battle.

We need a better model. (5, Interesting)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118563)

I particularly like the Fairshare [sourceforge.net] proposal floated by Ian Goldberg, in which you could "invest" in promising new artists. It gives incentive to get in on the ground floor with a little-known artist, rather than to ride the coattails of a megastar.

Any alternative would be better than the current system.

so what?...we knew this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118572)

it's been said many times before. It takes a phd student writing a crummy white paper to get coverage? Wank.

He showed his work (4, Funny)

eyebits (649032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118607)

Yeah, but he had formulas, data, charts and stuff. Even used those funny greek symbols and had partial differential equations. It must be right. :)

Re:so what?...we knew this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118705)

agreed. i'm very surprised to see that this is a job market paper. there isn't much in there that isn't common sense and he didn't use any tools that an andvanced undergrad wouldn't know. it will be interesting to see who hires him with that.

Re:so what?...we knew this... (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119029)

Previously, all I've seen is supposition (which is essentially worthless) and surveys (which I am always loathe to trust no matter what the conclusion; they're too easy to skew).

I've not RTFA, but assuming he actually did some proper research, this might just be a useful piece of work; it would certainly make a change in this area.

No investment ? So what? (2, Interesting)

pepeperes (731972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118577)

I couldn't care less about not having mega star marketeed artists... So this must be good.

This didn't surprise me at all. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118605)

P2P is breaking the vicious cycle where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It's the only reason all the **AA execs are frothing blood at the mouth about it.

I thought everyone already knew that.

Who's that behind the curtain? (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118614)

My question is, who supported the research?

IR DOESNT MATTER (1)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118615)

No matter what the real impact is, the demonization has been in ful force for years. that cannot be easily undone.

As a wise marketing/business teacher told me once, the masses are the asses, they follow the loudest megaphone.

That's cool (2, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118650)

I guess it shows how cool the P2P effect is, it makes huge fuckin stars sell less CD's and undergroud ones sell a bit more.

Isn't it what anyone (except the big artists and music companies) would want to see? As someone say, that's very socialist, it's like the tax on fortune and wellfare, or whatever you call that, takes lots from the rich people and gives some to the poor ones.

Big stars all suck according to me anyway, so fuck them and don't try to make us cry because Madonna is gonna sell a few thousand less than expected on the millions she's sellin.

Reminds me of an episode of south park actually...

Outdated Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118654)

I have to argue that the concept of income from successful acts allowing more money for R & D of new acts is outdated. In the past, studios were extremely expensive places to construct, and to pay them off, studio time was expensive. Now technology is cheap and readily availible any anyone with the time and some small investment can create professional products. Ditto with outsourcing mass printing and reproduction.

Bottom line, the only thing the large houses can offer now is mass marketing and distribution chains. This too has already technologically changed and the understanding of it is probably moving to the early majority by now. With regards to both, the Internet has the potential to significantly level the playing field. Nontraditional promotions can be vitually free, and as this article focuses on, P2P very easily solves the distribution issues.

The superstar is only rarely someone several standard deviations above the herd. Much more often it is the result of mere exposure effect to marginal talent on traditional corporate controlled forms of mass entertainment. So I don't see much merit in bellyaching about the potential for their dearth in a changing era.

$.02 from Me

P2P Robin Hood? (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118657)

Takes from the rich and gives to the poor?

Previously discussed (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118664)

The Long Tail,

As previously discussed on /. [slashdot.org]

Most popular? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118667)

I don't understand what being most popular on the charts has to do with it...

If I download an album and like it, I will buy it. If I don't like it enough, I won't, obviously. But never do I look on the charts to see how the album I'm reviewing is doing to determine whether or not I should buy it.

It seems to me rather, that Blackburn suggests that the only reason the chart toppers top the charts is because consumers are focused on very few artists, as opposed to having their attention drawn to more artists via P2P.

Does this mean that record labels will make less money? No, they are buying the same amount of albums (or more), but the purchases are spread across different bands rather than a select few that the record labels are promoting. The spread is more even, so chart toppers have less sales but those at the bottom of the chart have more sales.

This means that the advertising dollars spent by record labels have less impact, because consumers are getting informed through another channel, by P2P.

I guess it used to be that record labels only needed to find a few would-be chart toppers to guarantee themselves some revenue. But now record labels will have to have a larger pool of more diverse talent to satisfy the consumer who is more aware.

Now the more artists that record labels have available, the more records they will sell. Instead of concentrating on scoring the next flavor-of-the-month that won't be hot very long to get a big flash of sales all at once, record labels should concentrating on keeping lots of diverse and lasting talent.

Why the manufactured "artists"? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118672)

I don't understand why the record companies keep coming up with more and more manufactured acts that all sound the same.

Don't they have functioning ears?

Even if they don't, can't they just compile a selection of samples from up-and-comings, and run them by a bunch of people? See what people like, then back the one that people think are good.

You'd think record companies would have figured out by now that the manufactured sound is getting old. You'd think they figure out that the reason peer-to-peer and online music stores are so popular is because there is only one good song on any given album anymore. They overplay that song on the radio and then sell albums with that song and 8 filler tracks. No one wants to buy filler!

Re:Why the manufactured "artists"? (1)

tredman (229468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118760)

It's all about money, pure and simple. You and I know that much of the regurgitated pizzle on top 40 radio blows donkey chunks, but they're still making money off the teenage sheep that pour their cash into the product. When the money stops pouring in, they'll bleed whatever's left of the product dry and move on to the next thing.

The depressing part about it is that the whole thing starts with some fresh, new act with a completely different sound (think Pearl Jam or Nirvana*), followed by the recording industry's attempt to capitalize on the fad with scores of cookie-cutter copycats and cheap Times Square knockoffs.

Tim

* btw, I never was much of a fan of the Seattle grunge sound, I just use them as an example.

ecenomic evolution (1)

Foktip (736679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118675)

exactly! now when companies question the viewpoints of anyone pro-filesharing, we can say "see: <proper reference to this guys paper> for details"; and since he has some credibility, his word has power.

the thing is, the record companies are basing their whole argument on the idea that they should stay on with their current scheme of "hit-record"-ing. if they werent too lazy to find a better scheme and adapt their plan, then mayby they'd be riding filesharing to greater ritches; like iTunes. its funny when agile companies stomp all over the stale old ones. its ecenomic evolution, baby!

Well, Duh! (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118683)

Entertainment is a zero-sum game: the market only spends so much on it, and after that it's a fight between the music labels, concerts, sports, movies, entertainment electronics, etc.

Since P2P provides an alternative to big-budget advertising as a way to promote music, it helps the lesser-known acts. That has to come from somewhere, and where it comes from is the big names that owe their success to marketing.

Not all Labels are the Same Either (2, Insightful)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118704)

The fact that the big hits lose sales due to P2P is bad for some labels, and not for others.

E.g. Sony has a lot of big-name hits. So P2P == evil.
Koch Records has a lot of smaller-selling indies. P2P != evil.

However, I have a deep suspicion that RIAA is run by the likes of SONY, and not the ones like Koch.

Also, musicians are keenly aware of the differences: to get on Koch, you pretty much have to have your album finished and mixed. They produce and distribute it, and give you a big percentage. Other ones front tons of money for production and advertising, and give back a smaller percentage -- and they are the ones that stand to lose the most from P2P.

The most interesting thing in all of music these days are mixtapes and mashups. They are both illegal to sell -- no copyrights are cleared, so you'll hear samples, beats and so on from entirely different groups. You can now buy them over the web, or download them from P2P.

in morther russia... (-1)

joelito_pr (931211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118727)

the file shares you.

P2P Helping Unknown Artists? (2, Insightful)

MadMacSkillz (648319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118730)

P2P does not help unknown artists the way people think it does. I don't see where it helps unknown artists at ALL. You are better off posting your unknown music to a music site like MacJams and signing with CDBaby and getting your music on iTunes. Give away a song or two, get people to listen to your music, and they might like you enough to check out your songs on iTunes. If I'm going to give some of my songs away, I'm going to do it on a web site where I can promote it myself. Sharing your music via P2P does not really help you as much as sharing your music via a web site on the Internet.

Richard MacLemale on iTunes [apple.com] .

Re:P2P Helping Unknown Artists? (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118804)

And throughout the post you didn't show how it didn't help at all. Not that this isn't a good argument, nut neither is just posting "it doesn't help, it doesn't help I do this if I want to do something" without showing why that other one isn't good.

Anyone read the paper? Didn't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118851)

This guy and his "counterfactual excersizes" are a joke. He pulls numbers directly out of his ass, or uses numbers pulled out of the RIAA's ass!

Its a total work of fiction.

Its a just guy, that thinks stealing music is cool, who wrote a paper that uses his own imagination to appear to support it. Thin on fact and fat on wild speculation.

But most of you will eat it up. You'll continue your tired mantra about "new business model" to justify continuing to steal music and movies. You'll say who cares, its only Britney Spears suffering, not the alternative bands that you listen to.

quadratic "decay" trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14118945)

He uses a quadratic decay trend for utility of album in figure 3, page 27 of TFA. This clearly means that as the number of weeks since an album's release goes to infinity, the utility of demand goes to infinity. I gotta get into this recording industry. Any time now, and achy breaky heart is gonna make a comeback, rocketing up the charts.

Technology - the Monority's best friend (1)

ThePengwin (934031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118948)

Looks like technology is always favouring a minority of people isnt it? Its good that that minority has real views on the world and isnt strapped to chart music :) it sounds bad anyway

Previous rant about the same thing (1)

avhell (924329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118949)

I had posted this a while back on my blog about similar issues: http://pdavid.sytes.net/blog/archives/36/ [sytes.net]

filesharing and economics (5, Insightful)

FruFox (911705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14118980)

A few points here :

1. True, filesharing might reduce the incentive to invest in new acts. But it definately reduces the need. If you don't need millions of dollars to launch your album, just a laptop and a podcasting site, then who needs investment? I think what will happen is that the promotional aspects of the music biz will survive in a substantially reduced form (after all, people still need to hear about you!) but the whole production and distribution megalith will go the way of the 8-track.

2. I agree, though, that P2P itself means next to nothing to a small unknown artist. Nobody is going to type your name into Limewire if they have never heard of you, obviously. Internet radio and podcasting are muhc more meaningful and useful tools for such artists. You get a podcaster to listen to your music, they play it for people, those peopel go to your website, etc.

3. It's said a lot, but it bears repeating : even Britney Spears makes only pennies per CD. The big name artists make all their money on touring. So there's no reason to worry about the ten cents you might be 'stealing' from Britney if you download a song. If you love her and want to support her, go to her concerts, buy her clothes, her perfumes, whatever. She gets a lot more money out of that.

Essentially, the music industry has reacheed the point where it is almost completely parisitical in nature. And like any parasite, it wants to control its host, and fears the light of day. Right now, they exploit the fact that the people and most importantly the legislators don't really grasp the issue at all. When you say to someone "Should they be allowed to steal our music?" and they know nothing of what is truly going on, it's hard to blame them for saying "Gee, I guess not!"

But we don't have to worry about that. This revolution requires no propaganda on our side. With every MP3 player, every iPod, every DVD player sold, our view sells itself. Eventually the RIAA and its bloodsucking ilk will be reduced to the level of rambling lunatic old men defending their collections of old cans and newspapers with bloodthirsty vehemence, oblivious to the fact that nobody wants them any more.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>