Monday, November 5, 2007

Canadian official govt. report - File-sharing is GOOD for music

Earlier today, Industry Canada, a ministry of the federal government, released a surprising study of peer-to-peer file-sharing on the music industry.

The study is called The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada, and was written by Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz, of the Department of Management at the University of London in England.

Its conclusion: P2P file-sharing does not put downward pressure on purchasing music, as the music industry has insisted for years. In fact, it does just the opposite: It tends to increase music purchasing.

This is, after all, a study released with the blessings of the federal government, not some self-serving poll commissioned by the music industry.

The study said that in Canada, for every 12 P2P downloaded songs, music purchases increased by 0.44 CDs.

That means, the study’s authors say, “downloading the equivalent of approximately one CD increases purchasing by about half of a CD.”

Moreover, the authors said they were “unable to find evidence of any relationship between P2P file sharing and purchases of electronically delivered music tracks [such as iTunes].”

Also, “We find evidence that purchases of other forms of entertainment such as cinema and concert tickets, and video games tend to increase with music purchases,” say its authors.

Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG have spent an enormous fortune which, rightfully, should have gone to shareholders, trying to make the world believe they’re being “devastated” by people who share music with each other online.

Through the likes of their RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the Big 4 try to say:

  • Files shared equal sales lost
  • Sharing a file is exactly the same as thievery, even though nothing has been stolen, no money has changed hands and no one has been deprived of anything they used to own
  • That there’s no difference between sharing and walking into a retail store and stealing a CD.

The study concluded that about half of all P2P tracks were downloaded because individuals wanted to hear songs before buying them or because they wanted to avoid purchasing the whole bundle of songs on the associated CDs. Another quarter were downloaded because they were just not available in music stores.

The study said that the effect of a 1 per cent increase of downloading songs that were not available in stores was associated with nearly a 4 per cent increase in CD purchases, which suggests that people are really interested in buying CDs that the recording industry is not interested in promoting.

Needless to say, industry lobbyists will dismiss the study immediately; they have invested far too much time, money and effort mounting an intense campaign against the effect of the Internet on their businesses.

source [Globe And Mail] and []

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