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Study Finds P2P Has No Effect on Legal Music Sales

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the everybody-feign-deep-shock dept.

Music 294

MBrichacek writes "The Journal of Political Economy is running the results of a study into P2P file-sharing, reports Ars Technica. The study has found that, contrary to the claims of the recording industry, there is almost no effect on sales from file-sharing. Using data from several months in 2002, the researchers came to the conclusion that P2P 'affected no more than 0.7% of sales in that timeframe.' 803 million CDs were sold in 2002, according to the study, which was a decrease of about 80 million from the previous year. While the RIAA has been blaming that drop (and the drop in subsequent years) on piracy, given the volume of file-sharing that year the impact from file sharing could not have been more than 6 million albums total. Thus, 74 million unsold CDs from that year are 'without an excuse for sitting on shelves.'"

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294 comments

How bizarre... (0, Flamebait)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996482)

Everytime a new study come yet the results differs.
Who uses P2P for something else than piracy ?
Be honest /. crowd!

Re:How bizarre... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996508)

I don't know about you, but I like to use P2P to trade pictures of your mother.

Actually that's a lie. I know you do it, too.

Re:How bizarre... (1, Troll)

ccarson (562931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997150)

I laughed when I read the headline to this thread. To suggest this to be true is no different than saying P2P doesn't exist. Of course P2P affects sales. I'm starting to lose respect for Slashdot and their inability to control their biasness. Parading notions like this only hurts the credibility of this site.

Re:How bizarre... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996510)

free pr0n?

Re:How bizarre... (3, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996564)

Well, we can start with everyone who plays WoW... Some people like getting their favorite free *nix distros via P2P. Just like some pirates like getting their free *dows distro via P2P, except the former is legal.

Re:How bizarre... (4, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997004)

I download a shitload of music and movies. Yet, I buy the music I want. The availability of filesharing has not affected the amount I spend on culture each month. If I bought everything I download, I would probably have to pay some $2000/month.

When you say Everytime a new study come yet the results differs., take a look at the sources. All independent research has always shown that filesharing has not and does not affect record sales. All information that comes from the record companies says that they do. Who do you trust?

Re:How bizarre... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997300)

I still find difficult to believe that there is less than 1% impact. We all know that the RIAA summon there studies from the outter reach of alternate reality but still, it is hard to admit that piracy and sales are totally decorrelated...

Re:How bizarre... (4, Insightful)

cloak42 (620230) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997384)

The difference is that the RIAA and other similar industry reps will tell you that it affects sales for the simple reason that they view every download as a lost sale. What they refuse to admit is that in the vast majority of the cases where a song or album is downloaded, it never would have been a sale in the first place because the person wouldn't have ordinarily bought that album or song. By the RIAA's rationale, people would otherwise be spending hundreds of dollars more per year on music, which we all know is just not true. If there was no means for them to have free music, they would just not listen to as much music. What I never understood was why the RIAA thinks that people listening to less music is a good thing, regardless of the reason.

Can't Say I'm Surprised (2, Interesting)

nickyx (897989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996498)

Is this not what people on slashdot have been saying for years!?

Re:Can't Say I'm Surprised (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996512)

Because slashdotters are always right about everything...

Re:Can't Say I'm Surprised (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997346)

No, but there bias toward scientific studies and technical fact give most of them a good insight on IT debates.

The Original Report (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996502)

The paper that The Journal of Political Economy [uchicago.edu] is citing is The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis [unc.edu] [PDF Warning!] which I found hosted on Koleman Strumpf of UNC Chapel Hill's school homepage although it is also available via one of my favorite (though not very comprehensive) research sites, Citeseer [psu.edu] .

Something interesting to note is that this paper is dated March of 2004 (not too new as Ars Technica reported) and it causes me great wonder why I've never come upon this before (or why it's never been cited in the news). I recall reading tons of reports from one of the Associations where piracy is proven to hurt record sales but several years after this one is published, I finally see it.

For those of you interested in the data, pages 34 on contain some very interesting data whereby downloads are broken down by song, album, country & genre (in case everyone was trying to pin illegal downloads on those damned teeny boppers).

For those of you who wish to question the sample size, see Section B. "File Sharing Data and Album Sample" of the paper. You will also be interested in reading Appendix A in which they call into question their own sample sizes and weigh in on how accurate they might or might not be. To quote the paper for some more detail on the downloads samples,

Over the sample period we observe 1.75 million file downloads or roughly ten per minute.10 This is about 0.01% of all the downloads in the world. A significant majority of the downloads were music files. U.S. users accounted for about one third of the downloads (and the data contain about 0.01% of all music downloads by U.S. users).
To quote the paper on album sales samples,

The mean of sales for these albums during our observation period is 151,786 copies, ranging from 71 copies to 3.5 million copies.
Don't kid yourself, this is a difficult study to do. Both the downloads and album sales must be sampled and modeled correctly to draw correct conclusions. In the end, it would be hard to verify/discredit any studies done on this topic since A) consumers are human and therefore erradic & B) macro economics still isn't well understood.

Now, for those of you who just want the bottom line at the end of the paper,

We find that file sharing has no statistically significant effect on purchases of the average album in our sample.
And, from the very end of the paper,

If we are correct in arguing that downloading has little effect on the production of music, then file sharing probably increases aggregate welfare. Shifts from sales to downloads are simply transfers between firms and consumers. And while we have argued that file sharing imposes little dynamic cost in terms of future production, it has considerably increased the consumption of recorded music. File sharing lowers the price and allows an apparently large pool of individuals to enjoy music. The sheer magnitude of this activity, the billions of tracks which are downloaded each year, suggests the added social welfare from file sharing is likely to be quite high.
Yeah, that's right, the research concluded that "file sharing probably increases aggregate welfare." I'll bet if we all got drills & augers, we could get that into the brains of the people running the RIAA & MPAA.

Re:The Original Report (5, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996746)

Yeah, that's right, the research concluded that "file sharing probably increases aggregate welfare." I'll bet if we all got drills & augers, we could get that into the brains of the people running the RIAA & MPAA.
That's been one of the main facets of those opposed to the xxAA camps. However, this study mentions some symptoms without delving into them.

File sharing enables more acts to be exposed to a larger audience. File sharing is probably hurting radio more than it is artists, as it becomes increasingly difficult to cater to the growing diverse tastes of what used to be their audience. Basically, I pose that file sharing is taking the place of radio to promote artists. Why do I say promote? If you've ever heard an MP3 or other compressed format played at a reasonable or louder volume on quality equipment, you wouldn't be asking.

Control of musical output is being taken away from large conglomerates, and is actually being put back into the hands of the people. Over the course of the last 20 or so years, the FCC has allowed the independent radio station to become extinct as they were gobbled up mainly by one of 2 corporations: Infinity and ClearChannel. These corporations, namely ClearChannel as I have personally seen them destroy the selection of radio stations in my city, have attempted to create a one size fits all set of stations to pump music and [lack of] talent through to the chumps, um, audience. Via this control, and payola, for which I have no direct proof other than the absolute crap on the radio that has driven away large portions of their audience, they thought they were setup to just print money by promoting talentless acts with crappy contracts that would "sell" just because they promoted them.

What happened instead is this internet thing and P2P, wherein people started sharing music, music that wasn't promoted, wasn't on the local airwaves, and thus not in the RIAA members's maximized profit model. It got even worse when sites like MySpace (yes, I have to give it some props) started serving as an alternative promotion source for bands.

So there's much more to P2P and music sales than what these or any statistics show. Falling sales are not related to increased P2P. I'd argue that sales haven't fallen any more than they have explicitly because of P2P. Why? Take a look at the last 6 months of album releases. Can you name more than 2 albums of note? I can't. I haven't seen a single Rock/Alternative/Pop album I wanted in the past 6 months. Is it because there aren't any musicians out there? Naah, it's because tripe has been promoted and is all that's for sale.

Re:The Original Report (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997076)

File sharing is probably hurting radio more than it is artists, as it becomes increasingly difficult to cater to the growing diverse tastes of what used to be their audience.

And what's more, they don't even try. For the most part, they simply play what the recording industry pays them to play. This is to further the industry's continuing goal of promoting the hell out of a few artists to create a few bajillion-selling albums instead of getting a wider variety of music out there and making less from each artist. I assume it has to do with retail space concerns, which is just another reason we need to get away from traditional retail models for music. File-sharing has opened up a much larger world of music to many people. I know I've downloaded music from bands I've never heard of many times. Sometimes it's crap, but sometimes it's great. I can't even stand to listen to radio most of the time anymore. It's endlessly repetitive, boring, and annoying.

Re:The Original Report (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997312)

A little analogy to help this along. I've met a lot of Americans who say that they like Nickelback. Most people from Canada can't stand Nickelback. And do you know why? Well, Canadian content laws say that a certain percentage of music on the radio has to be from Canadian artists. So, because Nickleback is Canadian, and they are popular, you hear them about once an hour. They get way overplayed, and people stop wanting to listen to it. Even if Nickleback was replace with (insert best band ever), it wouldn't matter, because people would still get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. I don't think the radio has ever been that good, but once file sharing came along as a way to find new music, the radio lost 98% of any appeal it had.

Amnesiacs (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996788)

It amazes me how this is news at all. This has been all over Slashdot, and repeatedly referred to. I got into an argument with someone who claimed that because this article was cited by people who pirated, it somehow wasn't valid data (!?) Somehow the oldness of the news also meant that people stopped treating the data as compelling, as if old data loses accuracy. Besides the pro-piracy lobby wanted to say "(intellectual) property is theft", which, you'll have to admit is a lot more dramatic.

The argument has moved on a little since then, but not a lot. Notably, the music industry "hit back" with a paper called "Piracy on the High 'C's", who's central contention was that students did spend less on music. A barely mentioned acedemic paper that I discovered when researching the issue mayself had a response to that: older people who pirate buy more, and younger people buy less.

This is probably something to do with income, IMO, together with the effect that nurturing an interest has upon one's purchases. Links and further analysis can be found in a post [slashdot.org] that I made in an old journal of mine.

Re:Amnesiacs (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997190)

Notably, the music industry "hit back" with a paper called "Piracy on the High 'C's", who's central contention was that students did spend less on music. A barely mentioned acedemic paper that I discovered when researching the issue mayself had a response to that: older people who pirate buy more, and younger people buy less.

In unrelated news, the Beer Brewers' Association of America (BBAA) announced that there was a correlation between filesharing and a steep drop-off in sales of premium beers. "We are aligning ourselves with the RIAA and the MPAA because it is clear that filesharing has far reaching effects in our economy and must be stopped," announced BBAA chairperson Miranda Stone.

In other news, the makers of Bud, Miller, Coors, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Mickey's Big Mouth withdrew from the BBAA today, citing record profits. "The recent success of our economy beers is an indicator that our philosophy of supporting classic beer flavor rather than the latest microbrew fads is a successful one. Our rapidly increasing sales in cities, especially where there are universities, indicates that well educated consumers know good beer and good value when they taste it."

...

I know I bought music in college, and making that choice not to buy two cases of Bud (on sale) for the cost of one CD was a difficult one. I'm sure that there are all sorts of unpredictable effects on the market when college students don't have to spend money to get the music they want.

Re:The Original Report (1)

mtutty (678367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997106)

The 6 million not sold would probably pay the xxAA for the 74 million sitting on the shelves :)

Well, if they haven't lost any money. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996504)

That means they should give back some of the money they've confiscated in lawsuits over their 'losses'.
As if the world were fair.

Exactly (4, Insightful)

omeg (907329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996516)

I never believed that P2P would have a significant effect on the sales of records. Let's face it: most of us will simply go out and buy a record if we really want to have it. If we don't really want to have it, we may still pirate it. But we would definitely not go out and hand over a hunk of cash for it. Most of the music that we warez, I believe, would be the music that we wouldn't otherwise buy. Same goes for movies, games, everything.

It's easy for the large publishers to complain and act as though their sales are declining due to the increasing amount of P2P networking, but you might as well say that global warming is the cause. Afterall, neither have ever been proven to have a huge effect on record sales...

Re:Exactly (5, Insightful)

Mad Dog Manley (93208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996626)

I believe the reason for CD sales declining is far more simplier than "P2P caused it" or even "all new music sucks". Maybe the real reason is simply that the format is starting to die. I own dozens of CDs but I don't even play them anymore. I play MP3s on my computer or on a portable device (that conveniently connects to my home and car stereo on demand), or the very least listen to the digital radio stations on my digital cable (which also carries 15 local radio stations from the city where I live). 15 songs per cd? That's *so* 90's.

Re:Exactly (3, Interesting)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996850)

Another factor is there is more competition for that $20 burning a hole in your pocket. Let's face it: You have more choices now: a $15 CD with one or two good songs (total entertainment duration 10 min), a $20 DVD (total entertainment duration 2+ hours), or you can put a couple of $20s together and by a game and have many many hours of entertainment. Well guess what? More often than not, the lackluster music CD is probably going to lose.

Re:Exactly (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997304)

So, it's like saying P2P is causing a lack of sales in cassette tape and 8 tracks. It's just a media shift that they din't create so they don't know how to control

Re:Exactly (1)

tijmentiming (813664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996638)

I do not agree with you. I download a lot of music which I like. But why do I need a CD of it if I play MP3's only? I haven't bought a CD in three years. However, I download them. But when I really like an artist, I go to the gigs. And afaik they make more money from gigs than from music sells. Dunno for sure.

Re:Exactly (1)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996752)

You might want to the CD so you can make a high quality copy of it on your computer, say using MP3, OGG/Vorbis, or FLAC compression. That way you don't just get all you can find online from someone who decided "128 kbit/s for every music file ought to be enough for everyone".

That would be a major motivation to get the music you like, and also being legal.

Re:Exactly (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996992)

128kbps is actually plenty in Ogg Vorbis or AACPlus. MP3 not so much so at that bitrate (transparent my ass), though LAME is really good on the highest "quality" settings.

Also, for high bitrate lossy, I don't think it's possible to beat MPC. I personally use Monkey's Audio for lossless, though, even if there's not much difference between the lossless formats. That said, CD audio might be lossless, but it's usually downsampled from 24-bit to 16-bit, requiring dithering and noise shaping to keep artifacts to a minimum. DVD-audio is better, but still not portable enough. We're in the age of eraser-sized MP3 players; As small as CD's are, they aren't small enough, and uncompressed PCM (Redbook audio/CDDA) is entirely too limiting.

Re:Exactly (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996832)

I completely agree with this. I have to add that I wouldn't have found so many non-mainstream artists that I have come to love if not for digital music. If I hear one interesting song on tv or in a movie or something and want to learn more about the artist, I'm not going to buy an album on a whim like this to learn more. They wouldn't have gotten my money for that anyway. Thankfully I've been able to listen to many tracks and decide I don't like them or in many cases my interest continues to grow. I haven't always bought the album after this but I just bought Brian Eno's Another Green World and Here Come The Warm Jets because of this. I came across his stuff totally randomly. If not for this I would still have no idea who Brian Eno is. Those albums weren't at Best Buy and they definitely don't play on the radio.

People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17997066)

There are people in the world who will not buy music if they can download it for free.

These people naturally assume that everyone else is just like them. They say "why would you buy the cow if you are getting the milk for free? I wouldn't." So they claim that filesharing is the end of music sales.

The FACT, however, is that there are ALSO people in the world who will buy CDs even though they could download them for free. The reasons vary, but may include a genuine desire to support the artist, a preference for the solid-tangible object to connect them to the artist, a tendency to impulse-buy music while out shopping, and so on. Regardless of the reasons, however, it is undenyable that such people not only exist, but that they are plentiful and that they are still buying.

The artists, and the market, will do just fine in the face of widespread filesharing. We don't need to destroy personal freedom in the name of protecting the market.

Re:Exactly (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997234)

Well, that's not always the case.

I would probably buy more records that I enjoy if they wouldn't be about 7% of my salary. For example Cafe Del Mar, Buddha Bar, Yanni CDs are about 20-25 dollars. Make them 6-10 dollars and I'll consider buying them more.

Lots of artists I like are impossible to find in shops in my country, for example artists from Bluefm.net, Soma.fm (Groove Salad) or DI.fm Chillout/Instrumental channels (and NO, Amazon won't ship cd's in any country, and NO, not all countries can pay using Paypal and support artists/online radios)

I was actually prepared to charge my card and buy some very rare music tracks from Allofmp3.com or whatever that site name is but then I found out about a certain torrent site that hosts FLAC releases and...

Monthly rent, food, clothes, internet subscriptions that gets extra programming jobs are more important then a piece of plastic to lots of people including me.

So...

"most of us will simply go out and buy a record if we really want to have it." - yes, if the price is right and if a shop actually stores the record (lots of shops don't store records unless they sell at least 10 copies in a month. Combine this with high price and ...)
"If we don't really want to have it, we may still pirate it." - sometimes I hear a record on the radio, hate it, find the album on p2p and love some of the other tracks, sometimes enough to make me search for other albums and recommend the artist to other people...

Re:Exactly (1)

Res3000 (890937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997418)

They seem to miss one thing all the time: They increase the sale with P2P, too!

Sometimes you hear from a friend or so about that artist, and you go and download one song. If you like it, you go directly to your favourite online store and buy an album of that artist. You would have never bought a CD from that artist if you didn't had the chance to listen to him befor!

It's time that they get there facts right...

Rubbers too (0, Troll)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996530)

No shit, Sherlok. Condoms have no effect on birth rates either.

Re:Rubbers too (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996970)

No shit, Sherlok. Condoms have no effect on birth rates either.

That may be, but they certainly have increased the dirty-sex rate.

BBH

Blah blah blah. (4, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996574)

If god himself passed down this information on gleaming tablets 20 miles on a side, the RIAA and the MPAA wouldn't believe it for a second. Likewise the reverse; downloaders don't believe that piracy hurts legitimate artists, and they won't no matter what the evidence says.

Frankly, it's obviously somewhere in the middle. I doubt that p2p does much damage to music sales, but it has to have SOME impact...I mean, when I get some stupid pop song stuck in my head and I download it instead of buying it, that's a few bucks that won't go to the damn RIAA, and I have enough disposable cash that I might have bought it, if I had no other option.

On the flip side, I tend to download songs off CDs I already own, so I don't have to get out the sharpie to scribble over the stupid data track, so I can rip it. That's the definition of a no damage situation.

Neither side is ever going to compromise on this; the **AA's are as convinced we're screwing them as we are that they're screwing us. Eventually they'll just wither away and die due to changing distribution models, and that will be the end of that.

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996736)

when I get some stupid pop song stuck in my head and I download it instead of buying it, that's a few bucks that won't go to the damn RIAA

When you get some stupid pop song stuck in your head, are you really thinking about purchasing the entire CD knowing that the remaining tracks are probably garbage? I doubt it. You downloaded it because you never intended to buy it. And you probably only downloaded the single track, not the entire album. Besides, there's no difference between downloading the song and listening to it on the radio. Either way you are not directly handing money over, but you get the benefit of hearing and keeping the song (if you record to cassette).

I believe thats the underlying point here. Most music downloading doesn't harm legalized sales because the downloaders weren't likely going to purchase the music anyways, so financially no harm is done.

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996778)

If you read down, I admit that yea, I might buy it. Might not, but I tend to impulse buy music, and have some really embarrassing stuff on CD.

Re:Blah blah blah. (1, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996840)

downloaders don't believe that piracy hurts legitimate artists
Of course it hurts legitimate artists. The people it doesn't hurt are the people's work you're pirating.

If piracy became impossible tomorrow and ever more then people aren't going to suddenly go to music stores and buy lots of music. Instead they'll find someone who offers them a price they're willing to pay, which will be an indie artist (who may use ads on their website to make money). If they have a choice between the pirated works of the latest RIAA shill or an indie artist whose offering their work for the price of a banner when you go to their website, people will choose the RIAA crap. If however they have a choice between $20 for the latest RIAA shill or an indie artist whose offering their work for the price of a banner when you go to their website, people will be much more likely to choose the indie artist.

So yes, piracy does hurt legitimate artists. However it doesn't hurt the RIAA's artists.

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996988)

Or maybe I would just say "fuck you all" and pick up my guitar and amuse muself. Or I might just go play outside...

You have to face the facts: Digital copies made by people who never would have bought the music in the first place have no relevance whatsoever, and do not hurt anyone, be it the RIAA or "indie" musicians. You might as well assume for the sake of this discussion that for all practical purposes, neither the copies, nor the copiers even exist, because the effect they are having is the same as if it would be if there were no file sharers or files to share.

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997116)

People seek entertainment in one form or another. If they won't go to indie musicians then they'll go to television or they'll go to whores. They'll go somewhere for their entertainment. Very few people are willing to be bored for no reason in particular.

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996918)

"I mean, when I get some stupid pop song stuck in my head and I download it instead of buying it, that's a few bucks that won't go to the damn RIAA, and I have enough disposable cash that I might have bought it, if I had no other option."

When it comes to stupid pop songs, you always have another option - just turn on the radio and the song will come up in it's high-rotation slot within 30 minutes. Wait another 30 minutes and you'll probably hear the same song again...

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997288)

Downloading may have a POSITIVE impact on purchasing, as people that download music get into the habit of getting new music, and they know what the offerings are.

I personally have never bought anywhere near as much music as when I was downloading like crazy (Napster period), and I've seen the same pattern in others for downloading other things: The people I know that download tons of films also buy a bunch - the guy I know that download most films also has about 2000 legitimately purchased movies.

Eivind.

Is it even worth publiching these things. (3, Interesting)

MartinG (52587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996592)

The people who base their opinions on available facts have suspected this for years.

Most people prefer supposition and believing what's "obvious" and they will continue to ignore the facts anyway.

coc64 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996640)

architec7ure. My another special asshole about.' One lube or we sell arrogance was

In the other news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996652)

RIAA states that only studies with they have paid for are accurate.

In other news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996656)

Weapon manufacturing has no effect on world peace.

Try signing real talent (0, Troll)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996670)

Thus, 74 million unsold CDs from that year are 'without an excuse for sitting on shelves.'"

Maybe people are tired of being sold mass marketed crap. They should try marketing their music to increase erectile function and virility. That will at least get the Asian market. Rhino horns and shark cartilage are in short supply.

excuse me, but this is plain bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996676)

This is of the same caliber "scientific studies" that the tobacco industry came up for decades to "prove" no significant correlation between smoking and lung cancer. Or that the oil industry and automakers are coming up with now to cast doubt on the causes of global warming.

What about 10 percent lost CD sales in one year? After several consecutive years of similar losses? Big retailers like Tower Records going out of business, with nobody lining up to take their place? Oh, there could be lots of explanations. How about bad music! That's the ticket. Apparently the only choices consumers now have are George Michaels and Britney Spears and that's crap so that's 90 percent of the reason right there.

Let's all have our cake and eat it too. We can all steal all the music we want and expect a renaissance in the pop music industry with a ceaseless churn of creative energy and hundreds of exciting bands. Right, let me know when that happens.

Re:excuse me, but this is plain bullshit (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996864)

Well here's a question: was the music industry losing sales at a rate that doesn't correlate to the growth of p2p before p2p became popular? Your rant doesn't answer that question.

I don't know if you're heard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17997128)

"Big retailers like Tower Records going out of business"

There's this thing, I don't know if you've heard about it? It's called "the internet", and while you may be a bit old and codgery to use it, kids today buy *everything* online.

Plus, there's this other thing that the record companies do? It's called "screw retailers". Here's how it works:

1) Charge Tower (and others) > $10/CD wholesale
2) Tower has to charge $18 to $22 to make it worthwhile.
3) Meanwhile Sony/BMG is selling direct to consumers this month for $5.33/CD through their record club
4) Online stores have less overhead, so they sell for $12-14/CD to the consumer
5) The Internet makes used CD sales viable (I buy most of the CD's I can't get from Sony/BMG this way).

So you tell me how Tower was going to make a profit when Sony will sell cheaper to the consumer than they will the brick and morter store.

It's pretty clear you have an old-man's attitude.

Here's another tip... The phone companies are ripping you off for your wired phone line, too. Dont' think about it too hard. This new fangled stuff might blow your mind.

Re:excuse me, but this is plain bullshit (1)

TommyMc (949670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997296)

Big retailers like Tower Records going out of business

I'd heard that Tower records went bust because supermarkets like walmart started cutting prices on popular cd's to the extent that they were actually taking a slight loss, and then to compensate slightly raising the prices (a cent or so) on the high demand, low yield items, like groceries.

I don't have a source for this because I saw it on the tv. however, it seems to fit with the cd prices i've started to see in UK supermarkets in the last five years. Granted, this new competitor doesn't specifically target Tower records more than any other music vendor, so maybe there was a degree of complexity to their bunkruptcy beyond this, however, if it's true, I'd like to know why they went after the cd industry with such ferocity, as opposed to any other. Maybe it was just the next in a long line.

Filesharing, iTunes etc. may have come just in the nick of time for those of use that like more variety in music than your next-door neighbour's teenage daughter..

Re:excuse me, but this is plain bullshit (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997410)

I don't know what record company you work for, but whatever it is I guess you have access to all the independent research that goes against your claims. If you would actually read some of it, you would see that there are plenty of explanations why filesharing does not affect music sales. No one is saying that there hasn't been a decrease in CD sales.

If you would read your PR agents post before you posted it on slashdot, you would also notice that the studies that showed that smoking doesn't give you lung cancer was sponsored by the producer of said product. They were of course wrong, as a lot of independent studies shown. In this case, the studies that shows that filesharing is hurting music sales are also sponsored by the producer of the product, and independent studies shows that they are lying. Hopefully, in 50 years from now we will see who was right, and I doubt that it is RIAA, much as is was not the tobacco companies that were right.

American Edit (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996686)

If I hadn't heard American Edit, there's not a chance in hell I'd have bought the real American Idiot album on CD. Just my 2e anecdote...

Hey record companies. (5, Funny)

robably (1044462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996688)

You know what would shift those 74 million unsold CDs? Robot monkeys. A free robot monkey with each CD. Ones wearing little black leather jackets for the rock CDs, pink tutus for girl bands, green hair for punks. You could call them Andy The Happy Robot CD Monkey & His Fab Monkey Pals if you like.

My pleasure.

Re:Hey record companies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17997326)

Not robot monkeys... only monkeys, that's it. I want a monkey in a suit with every CD and I am going to buy a lot of CDs'. You see, I want to write a book and I need a lot of monkeys.

Now, if they could give away a typewriter with every DVD...

Where is the study on how much CDs suck? (4, Interesting)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996702)

I dont mean that current music is bad, I'm talking about having to shell out 14-18 dollars for a CD with maybe 2-3 decent song titles. I wonder when anyone is going to take notice on how much Apple is making selling individual song titles?

The music consumer has wised up, and many of us sample music we are interested in on MP3, WMA, whatever, and find out what is good and what sucks BEFORE spending our money. When I find good music, I generally purchase the CD, but I'll be dammed if I am going to part with money for a disk full of B-sides.

Record companies got greedy, when they could have made a fortune selling CDs for 7-10 dollars.

Right fucking NOW, some stupid record exec is reading the report, and in his mind, sees it as another opportunity to RAISE prices.

Fuck um.

Re:Where is the study on how much CDs suck? (2, Informative)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997324)

Now that people can buy individual songs, there's no excuse for a record company or artist to put 2 or 3 good songs and then fill the rest up with crap. And they're slitting their own throats doing so.

But if the RIAA would get their heads out of their ass and realize that the majority of the population doesn't want to hear the crap they put out they might turn things around. First off they're marketing to the wrong bunch. They're marketing to the decling population of teens to twenties. This worked in the 60s and 70s when the baby boomers were that age. Then they dropped them for the younger market. I would argue that most boomers are unlikely to download warez, would gladly purchase some music they'd like to hear and have the disposable income to do so. Just look at the sales of a release of Beatles No. Ones a few years back. And (get ready for the "old foggie" comment) it doesn't have to be old groups, but groups that can sing, not lipsync for for MTV. (Have you ever thought about how many former #1 selling artists would never have made it on American Idol today because they weren't good looking enough!?) Everything today is either rap or Beyonce. I would really like to find some new artists that I can like consistently, but they're few and far between.

Study is Wrong (5, Insightful)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996704)

Filesharing HAS caused a drop in CD sales.

Because:
  A. File sharing has caused RIAA lawsuits
  B. RIAA lawsuits have pissed off customers
  C. Pissed off customers look for other things to buy instead of CD's.

A->B->C so A->C

On a more serious note.... This reminds me of the global warming debate.. First you have those that say it's happening and those that say it isn't. Then enough studies come out that Global warming happening becomes the prevailing idea. So the next debate is Well, humans are causing it/it's natural. and so forth.

So we've seen the Cd sales are diminishing debate, CD sales ARE going down, now we're looking at why, the debate is File shareing / not file shareing / impact of file shareing.

I will be quite happy when the debate turns to "Your artists are CRAP, CD sales is dropping because the consumer is moving to buy independent artists' work, where they can find decent music."

Re:Study is Wrong (3, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996902)

Also:
    A. File sharing has caused DRM (e.g. rootkits).
    B. DRM pisses off customers.
    C. Pissed off customers look for other things to buy instead of CD's.

Re:Study is Wrong (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997182)

I've just read an article a couples of hours ago saying that the song that Yahoo was selling without DRM seriously outperformed those with DRM.

Re:Study is Wrong (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997216)

Causality is flawed in most cases. The best thing to do is to look for evidence of NO chain of cause and effect, like this paper does. Otherwise...

* The Internet is created from ARPA, CERN, and espresso.
* Universities pick up the Internet.
* Shawn Fanning gets bored, writes Napster.
* RIAA shuts down Napster.
* Nullsoft designs and releases Gnutella.
* Neo-Modus designs and releases DC.
* Kazaa is released.
* Gnutella-style networks evolve into semi-anonymous brightnets.
* The first open-source darknet client, DC++, matures.
* Studies correlating the evolution of file-sharing software and copyright infringement appear.
* (Unrelated origin: Bram Cohen releases Bittorrent's white-paper and the original client/tracker.)
* RIAA begin filing frivolous lawsuits.
* Kazaa dies.
* The Azureus project is founded.

I do believe that that is an accurate, if somewhat truncated, chain of causes and effects from the beginnings of the Internet to today. If we are to follow that, then we should be blaming Al Gore for inventing the damn tubes in the first place.

Instead, look to disprove causality. If there is no link between something, it is more significant than if there is a link.

sex witH A mare (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17996718)

tired arguments 1. Therefore there ttok precedence keed to be Kreskin

Give us something worth buying... (5, Insightful)

Elbowgeek (633324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996722)

That's the comment I got from various American youths. The music they are interested in has no long term value, unlike the Beatles/Stones/et al. Partly this has to do with the fact that most of modern pop is programmed on a cold computer and utterly devoid of real feeling; I get the feeling that while the kids are diggin' modern music at the same time they are unable to form a true connection to it, in the same way a human can't truly fall in love with a computer, because one knows it's an inanimate object at the end of the day. (And yes, I have read Isaac Asimov's robot story on the subject)

When I listen to music I'm partly looking to be wowed by the performance of at least some part of the piece. Current electronically generated and produced pop has no real performances to speak of, or if there is one can't be sure whether it's a sample of some old record thrown into the mix.

The point to all of this is that people now feel no reason to want to own the tracks they think they like (so that they can be listened to years down the road with fond memories) as music has become as commoditized and disposable as Gillette razors - only meant to be used for a certain period of time before being chucked in the bin.

There's a lot more to the problem of course, but the above does play an important part. The record companies need to produce artists (and they are out there) who produce real music and do it well. Fiddling with MIDI settings all day isn't producing music - it's computer programming.

Cheers

Re:Give us something worth buying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17997180)

You do realize you've just completely dismissed multiple genres of music? So anything that involves MIDI (be it MIDI manipulation via something like Max or PD or being played in by a musician) isn't music? I assume you feel similarly about things that are purely DSP and soft-synthesis and sequenced on a computer? What about a real instrument played and then sampled by a musician and resequenced using MIDI or software? Ralf and Florian would be rolling over in their graves right now if they weren't still alive and ruling us all.

Re:Give us something worth buying... (1)

Gibsnag (885901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997240)

This is true of mainstream pop music. However there is modern music which is real, is written by the people who play it and isn't made on computers. I don't know about the American youth (I'm of the English variety) but there is certainly a modern European Heavy Metal community of reasonable size, and the bands we listen to produce real music which they write themselves with real instruments and put real feelings into. You just have to search around a bit and find some more obscure bands on smaller labels.

You may or may not like the music but it most certainly isn't pop crap.

Re:Give us something worth buying... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997280)

Mod parent up.

You are so right. When I was growing up, we used to argue over who was the best guitarist, drummer, whatever. It wasnt just about the music. Today, I guess you could argue over who is the best sample-stealer, who lip-syncs the best, (sure as fuck aint Beyonce) and who can gyrate best on stage without losing their headset mic? There is very little talent out there to WATCH and inspire.

You mention Jeff Beck to some teenager today, and they will ask what did he RAP? They would tell you that Billy Cobham is a drum machine. There aint no musicianship approaching Steely Dan anywhere in music today. Even when you have somebody like John Mayer, who can play the crap out of a guitar doing teenage pop for girls (until the last album, I guess) there is no hope.

Re:Give us something worth buying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17997424)

I think you're putting more weight on the "computer generated"-argument than it holds. There is tons of great music that has been produced through fiddling with MIDI. Just think back, and see if there is a piece of game-music before ca. 1996 (with the arrival of the Playstation) that you like. For me it's the soundtrack of Starfox 64, a wonderful classicaly-inspired soundtrack. All using the soundchip of the Nintendo 64.

Rather, what I think is the main reason is the practice of over-compression. (Not as in MP3.) Compressing audio takes away dynamic range, and if a song is compressed to as loud as it can get (which seems to be standard practice) it has the effect of tiring out your ears faster. Just open a track from the 60's, 70's or 80's in a waveform editor (like the free and Free Audacity), then open a piece of modern pop-music and compare the waveforms and how high and how often they peak.

Without an excuse... (3, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996760)

Thus, 74 million unsold CDs from that year are 'without an excuse for sitting on shelves.

You mean besides the non-music industry perception that they contain music people are not really interested in or are at a price people are not willing to pay?

I know the effect it's had on my music purchasing (4, Interesting)

krunk7 (748055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996766)

Not much.

I was never a huge music buyer or listener really, mostly I just relied on friends music collections to carry me through. Though I understand how some folks get completely wrapped up in their music collections, for me it was mainly background noise to what I was really focusing on. As such, a 1/2 decent radio station would suffice when no friends with massive music collections were around.

Since the p2p downloading craze and the direct download craze that led up to it...though my music collection itself has increased quite a bit, my buying patterns are about the same. Essentially, I have my own personal perfect radio station.

Conversely, I do directly attribute P2P with significantly increasing my spending in one area: live concerts.

Though my effort/money put toward accruing music hasn't changed at all, my exposure to music has vastly increased with the ease of "collection" that p2p has brought. I've always loved a live show, so much so that it probably explains my aversion to recorded music. I love the little flaws in a live performance that gives the music a personality that is often stripped away by significant remastering at the recording studio.

Since a show costs anywere from 10-60 dollars and I'm going to more then ever and in genres I never considered before.....I'd say the music industry is profiting form me more then ever.

They're garbage... (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996768)

Thus, 74 million unsold CDs from that year are 'without an excuse for sitting on shelves.

That's the excuse. Sorry, people are buying less CDs because so many of the new CDs pushed by major labels are cookie-cutter copies of other CD's that sold well. Maybe I'm just getting crotchety in my old age, but all the music *does* sound the same to me.

Maybe it's because... (1)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996780)

9 out of 10 CD's the RIAA is likely tracking contain crap for music that no one is interested in listening to, not to mention how overpriced CD's are now. When CD's were introduced they were about $17 each. During their prime the price dropped to $13 or so, now they are on the way back up. The Internet has made more music available to people than was ever available at any traditional "record store", and much of it is truly free. What CD's teens I know are buying are split probably 50-50 new music and music that is 20 or so years old.

There is an excuse (4, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996798)

For all the CD's unsold and rotting on the shelves... they are assembly-line crap... like fast food for the masses, it is bland. Pay attention and you will see that a lot of what kids are listening to is... old fogey music! When I was a kid, I would never have listened to my dad's music because ours was so much better. Now, my son and his friends are hitting me up for ACDC, Led Zeppelin and many other old gems... in fact last night I turned him on to... the Cars!

There is some good indie music out there, but the major companies shun it while pushing out their canned pap. This is what is on the shelves rotting (as it should). No wonder their primary source of funds seems to be lawsuits right now.

No wonder the Police have chosen to reunite. The rockers with walkers are making a killing because the industry today is creatively bankrupt. Bring on Jagger, the Stones and their musical wheelchairs.

Re:There is an excuse (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997114)

For all the CD's unsold and rotting on the shelves... they are assembly-line crap...

I ask you to go look at the charts and see what is selling. While I agree much of it is radio fodder the bottom line is that Justin Timberlake or 50Cent or whomever outsold Pink Floyd last year. Pink Floyd is timeless and will continue to sell long after Timberlake and his ilk are worm food but that still doesn't make it deniable that pop outsells classic rock. The industry had it good when we classic rock fans were busy replacing our wax with CDs, either they don't want to fess upto this truth or they're too stupid to see that the format change was a bubble that was going to bust once guys in their 40s and 50s re-bought their Steely Dan on CD. I know I personally sold a ton of old vinyl to walk out of the local music store with a handful of CDs. Once I replaced most of my LPs my buying went from a floodgate to a trickle. I have over 1300 CDs in my collection, the vast majority of them were bought between 1990 and 1995. Today there are a few new releases that still get me shelling out the dollars but the back catalogs that I don't own I have no intention of buying. And no, I don't download music and play it in heavy rotation. That's not to say I don't sample but the downloads are no replacement from me supporting artists I like.

in fact last night I turned him on to... the Cars!

Please, God, NO!!! (I kid, I kid)

The rockers with walkers are making a killing because the industry today is creatively bankrupt. Bring on Jagger, the Stones and their musical wheelchairs.

No, these guys are making money from people like us who have the expendable cash that a 15 year old can't swing to see Nelly in concert.

I'm not that old, 34. When I was a kid in school it was all I could do to collect my change to buy the new Rush album. I went to very few concerts until I became employed. Even in the early days it was mostly cheap punk concerts (5 bucks for 5 bands is a good price for a kid in an old pair of Chucks with beat up skateboard). Since I landed my first real job in 1996 I've seen Rush 13 times before that? only twice. I now have the cash to see them 2-4 times on tour. I love every minute of it but feeding my Rush addiction has less to do with the music of today than my ability to finally be able to pay out to see it. I would have loved to have seen Rush back in the 80s. I just didn't have the funds.

Re:There is an excuse (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997388)

You raise some good points... and it is true that bubblegum or pop music will outsell the old classics in the short term (the Archies had a number one record once if you want to be a-feared), but the classic rock albums do sell. I think their sales figures might even be higher if my son and others like him didn't just walk over to dad's collection and pull some rips for his player. And at those old rocker concerts, there are not just old farts like us there, lots of young people.

True too, I was broke as a kid too, but radio was more interesting then... at least it was to me... doesn't seem like they listen to much radio these days. At least it's not as vital as it was back then

And hey, the Cars were not that bad... and I did turn him on to the Clash too... Also, I didn't sell my vinyl (you heretic!)... I still have a transcriptor turntable and... an original copy of Fly By Night as well as some others...

Double edged... (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996804)

contrary to the claims of the recording industry

Remember, that is also contrary to the claims of almost everyone on slashdot too... So many times I've heard that P2P increases sales. Since everyone has an "I found this band and bought the album" story.

Re:Double edged... (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997408)

To me it, realy worked in both way. I bought many CDs from artists I wouldn't have considered purshassing without a free trial, and almost as often, I could avoid to buy a CD when I discovered that the "artist" could only produce total crap without the backup of the seasoned writers, composers, producers, techies and additional musicians called in to have a semi-decent single (I sometimes however check other works from these backup guys).

As a french, I'm also faced with a similar issue with TV series: many of them are released in DVD but never broadcast on TV, so downloading the first few episodes is often my only way of knowing if I want to buy them or not.

Rots Your Brains (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996810)

Their record sales plummeted because the music they're selling sucks. And because the music sold before is now available in much greater amounts, whether on "classic" (rock/R&B/80s/oldies) radio, much less destructible (than vinyl/tape) CDs, and even downloads that don't get lost as much.

The music biz used to be mainly in the business of finding artists coming from the mass of people, trying them out before "focus groups" (live audiences) who selected themselves from the cultural word of mouth, and cultivating them for a decade or more. The artists getting the most continuing investment were those most successful in either a live audience, or record sales even in a regionally highly varied market, feeding back with radio play. A natural coevolution of the artists and the audience, when mediated best by the music biz people engaged into both.

Now the biz thinks it's smarter than the market. Creating fake "artitst" who are really just spokesmodels in videos for a recorded product tied in with cobranded products like so much anime breakfast cereal. The model is to create as many products that can be most controlled as possible, within a narrow range of those styles best "understood" by the marketers, pushing more money than brains through the network of middleman connections, and maximizing the profit from anything that looks like it's "hitting". Meanwhile, these "smarter than the market" marketers are dumber than ever before, especially about music and the mass of people in the market, because the smarter ones have already fled the sinking ship a decade ago.

It's like the factory farms that breed mad cow. No wonder the music sounds like a soundtrack to the cows' death dance.

Re:Rots Your Brains (3, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997354)

Their record sales plummeted because the music they're selling sucks.
Not only that, but it is now easier than ever for an indie band to get sales and fame. So now the big labels are not able to force their usual 2/3s of the pie on them, since newer bands have a lot more leverage. Observe:

RIAA company: "We'll distribute your CD and songs on iTunes, but we get 70% of the take."
New band: "Whatever, I can use something like CDBaby [cdbaby.com] and do the same for only a 20% take."
RIAA company: "Buh... uh... won't you think of the children? And by that, I mean our children. How will they ever afford a new Hummer?!"

Songs from (good) indie bands that do a lot of exposure are then picked up by the indie stations, and eventually make their way to the various ClearCrap stations who don't want to lose listeners to the stations that play more than the top 40s.

albums vs. songs (4, Insightful)

bsomerville (1063638) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996818)

One possible flaw in the study is that consumers are often not interested in entire albums. If the data is being presented in album units, and most of the download traffic is around popular songs from those albums, that explains some of the discrepancy.

Sales are down (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996884)

[ ]Because the Music Sucks
[ ]Because collectors are mostly done converting their Cassettes to CD format
[ ]Because the Industry is putting out less music
[ ]All of the above

Re:Sales are down (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997188)

Because collectors are mostly done converting their Cassettes to CD format

A real collector NEVER buys pre-recorded music on cassette. It was cheaper to buy the LP and a good quality blank cassette and make your own cassette copy while retaining the original quality of wax.

Even when cassettes were half the price of CDs I never bought cassettes because the quality sucked that bad. Making my own cassette was always a much better deal even though the cost was much higher.

Just keep saying it... (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996904)

...music currently sucks hard. The reason for falling sales figures is because the stuff the they are foisting on us sucks. Stop trying to create music acts out of thin air with payola and hard sell promotion. The music acts that are worth listening to will emerge on thier own and if they are worth listening to, people will gravitate to them. The music will sell and everyone wins. I stopped listening to the radio since even the stations I like (WAAF in Boston for the most part) don't even play the stuff I like anymore.

The premise of the arugment is all wrong... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17996940)

The CD format isn't going to be here forever. How often do you pull out those 8-tracks or cassette tapes and listen to music? CD will eventually go by the wayside much like these have done. Also note that distribution is the right of the copyright owner. Consider a world without CDs and prolific, legal file sharing. Who's buying music now? MP3 files are free for the taking so why purchase another copy via iTunes? There is no correlation in this study between downloading files and actually going out and purchasing the album. There is some anecdotal evidence that shows some people do in fact purchase a CD after downloading the album but that's all there is. One could just as easily go to their local record store and listen to any album available in the store and purchase it if they liked it. Zune's DRM could make it possible to listen to a song for a couple times and purchase it if they liked it or delete it from their MP3 player if they didn't. By virtue of the fact that neither of these is largely accepted practice, it's far more likely that people "just want shit for free". They view musicians as ultra-rich people with more money then they know what to do with and downloading their music isn't going to hurt them any. Legalizing P2P is going to destroy the market for music sales in a digital world because it's going to make it non-existent.

duh! (1)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997016)

If the music industry would put out GOOD music by GOOD artists, than downloading will only help them . The quality of ripped music is terrible, MP3 compression is crap and damaging to the ear... but if the lyrical content is good, the melodies or beats are good, then hearing a crappy MP3 should encourage the end user to buy the music. I know this is the case for me. The same goes for movies. I think the RIAA and MPAA should focus on the quality of their products before pointing the finger at P2P about the lack of music purchasers and movie-goers... also, when times change, the way people spend their money changes as well, and in a world of instant downloads its simply easier to pay $1 and download a song... but if thats the case, it would be nice to not be tied to a specific piece of hardware to hear it.

still one good reason to "pirate" a song... (3, Interesting)

frankie (91710) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997108)

If I like a song enough to want a local copy of it, my first step is to check iTunes. Usually I find the song (recent example: Yell Fire by Michael Franti) and its associated album. If I like the other songs enough, I buy the whole thing, otherwise just the one. However...

If the song is NOT on iTunes (recent example: Justified & Ancient by Tammy & the KLF), I click the icon I keep right next to iTunes... Poisoned [gottsilla.net] . It's exceedingly rare not to find exactly what I want on P2P. As far as I'm concerned, I made a good faith effort to pay for it, and my conscience is clear.

No excuse? (1)

beerdini (1051422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997146)

While the RIAA has been blaming that drop (and the drop in subsequent years) on piracy, given the volume of file-sharing that year the impact from file sharing could not have been more than 6 million albums total. Thus, 74 million unsold CDs from that year are 'without an excuse for sitting on shelves.'
I think being crappy CDs is enough of an excuse

When I bought CDs it was usually just for 1-2 songs then maybe another 1-2 grew on me, the rest of them I usually skip past. iTunes was great when you could buy the individual tracks, but since one of their last deals, in order to get that 1-2 songs I like they made it so I have to download the entire album. I'm not a big music person either, I can't name you bands and songs, but I know what I like and when they won't easily let me get what I want their way, I'm going to look for another way.

Local music (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997166)

OK, here's a shameless plug for local talent... There's lots of great music in the clubs, lounges, open mics and hundreds of other venues around your house (unless you live in Antarctica). Here's a couple videos from a local singer that was filmed in Coral Springs, FL just a couple miles from my house:

Moving On [youtube.com]

Original [youtube.com]

my perspective is... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997262)

music sales are subject to the same economic highs & lows like anything else, even more so since music and video are (should be) on the lower end of people's priorities since food, shelter, paying the bills and other more important items comes first...

if the MPAA/RIAA & music/movie industry can not figure this out then they should be going the way of the dinosaur (extinct)...

What they really fear from piracy (2, Interesting)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997308)

Apparently what the RIAA fears from piracy is not direct losses. They've been shamelessly inflating those numbers for years. What they fear is that piracy allows users a greater preview, which makes them smarter, which makes them less likely to buy the crap that's on the shelves.

Back when I was a kid, the way I "found" new bands was to go to the CD store and randomly buy something. Either that, or the radio. Nowadays I'd be ashamed to buy music sight-unseen (that is, unheard) but it used to be normal behavior.

Time vs. money (1)

tut21 (860295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997358)

Filesharing, or tape trading before P2P networks, has always been limited to a specific age range of people whose time is not yet worth the money they save by stealing music. This will be true as long as music isn't free (not something I'm advocating, BTW) so music companies should accept it and move on.

Bootleg trading, of course, is a different story.

Accessibility of Music (2, Interesting)

gregtron (1009171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997366)

I think one issue everyone's missing is the availability of non-mainstream music to almost anyone with an internet connection. Between Myspace, Wikipedia, affordable broadband, and the increasing hunger for new and exciting things, kids and young adults are finding increasingly numerous places to discover and enjoy music in amounts that they wouldn't have been able to find ten years ago. A lot of what we're seeing is the spreading out of disposable income, and the only people who are pissed about that are the ones who hold the rights to the mass-produced, lowest common denominater type drivel that MTV touts. If anything, we're giving more money and exposure to artists than ever before.

I don't buy CDs anymore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17997394)

I don't buy albums. I buy songs. I'm not going to spend $17 on crap + 2 good tunes. I'd love to buy the 2 good tunes online for $.99 each, but because of DRM restrictions I'm forced to use alternative avenues.

The article's "natural experiment" method. (1)

clausen (126202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997422)

In economics, it's rather difficult to run experiments. For example, we can't ask President Bush to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime 100 more times so that we can get statistically significant data on its effects on unemployment! The next best thing is to look for "natural experiments" that generate data that is just as good.

In this case, the authors wanted to experiment with the supply of P2P "servers". If the number of people offering to share P2P songs increases, then they hoped to measure the corresponding decrease in music sales. Naturally, they didn't actually run this experiment -- the RIAA would have objected to the researchers engaging in piracy!

So, they did the next best thing -- a natural experiment. When German students have their vacation, they share more files. This makes it easier to download songs in the US. They found easier access to P2P file sharing in the US did not cause a large drop in music sales.

Of course, this natural experiment isn't as good as a real experiment:

  • German vacations aren't randomly assigned -- but the authors argue that since German holidays vary in each state, that there is enough variation to get robust results.
  • The "German vacation" effect on the ease of downloading songs might be too small to measure anything reliably. Germans P2P users supply only one sixth of all songs that US users download. This "experiment" might be akin to doing a drug trial with a very small dose of medicine. In this case, you need to collect a lot of data to reliably measure the effects.
There are many other concerns discussed in the article. But, this is probably the best evidence we are ever going to get.

I still buy CD's....sort of. (2, Interesting)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17997450)

I buy about 16 or so CD's a year. Generally 4 batches of 4 or so. But I have to order them online from Europe (psyshop.com in Germany - great folks run it!), since no stores in Canada sell anything from the labels I buy. Now that's not 100% true, there is a couple of artists I listen to (Delerium, Conjure One) that are actually Canadian, and another artist (Toby Marks ala Banco De Gaia) who has distribution here (though I now buy CD's directly from him, get them sooner than waiting for the release).

I pretty much stopped buying the drivel put out my the major labels in the early 90's, stopped listening to the radio (di.fm FTW!), and most of the concerts I go to are old bands coming back for the umpteenth time - though I did see Coldplay's 2nd tour which was darn good!

To my mind the music *business* has turned into just that - a machine designed to reap the greatest money from the consumer for the least amount of effort/talent/artistry. There are tons of fantastic artists out there, but the vast majority of them record on little tiny labels (twisted.co.uk, ultimae.com are two that I consider noteworthy).

I admit to doing a bit of Nabstering in my day, but honestly all I was looking for were extended mixes of 80's tunes that are not available anywhere. I would not even consider pirating/downloading any of the music I listen to all the time if I can buy it on CD.
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