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Pirates more likely to buy music: study

updated 02:30 pm EDT, Tue April 21, 2009

Study on Piracy and Music

Despite a common perception that pirating music decreases sales, a new study published by Norway's Aftenposten this week suggests an opposite effect. Conducted by the BI Norwegian School of Management, the research finds that those between who frequently download music through file sharing services are 10 times more likely to buy music than those that cling only to legal purchases. It also notes that those between the ages of 15 and 20 are more likely to buy songs through download stores like iTunes than CDs.

The disproportionate amount of purchasing among file sharers is surprising, the school's Audun Molde says.

Music label EMI's Bjørn Rogstad is nonetheless skeptical of the findings and notes that music revenues are still declining even as downloads, legal and otherwise, continue to increase. That suggests illegal music sharing is still having a too-great impact on actual sales, according to the official.

Some industry watchers believe that much of the decline stems from the nature of digital sales, which so far have largely echoed the iTunes model and encourage by-the-track sales; customers only need to buy a handful of songs. The change has led to weaker album sales versus songs as buyers ignore tracks they don't require. Raising prices on new songs to compensate has also proven ineffective as new variable pricing has seen expensive songs drop in popularity versus the typical 99-cent price. [via Ars Technica]

by MacNN Staff




  1. sdp4462

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You know, revenue is an interesting thing. It turns out that money isn't grown on trees. As such, it is a fallacy to blame piracy for this problem.

    The bottom line is that the music industry needs to get back to do what it should be doing: making music. You generate money when you build music careers and build the fan base. Piracy can actually help build a fan base, but the music industry's current tendency to sell "one hit wonders" is what is partly to blame. Cultivating careers of truly talented musicians is what it will take to increase revenues, at the core.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: revenue

    One problem with your rant.

    The music industry doesn't 'make music'. The musicians make the music. The industry just uses the musicians to make their money by selling their music.

    Of course, you know they'd all love to go back to the good ol' days of the 50s and 60s, where the musicians signed away all their rights and the labels make all the money.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can attest to this statement - I would fall under the "pirate" category, as I used to download music from... uhm, questionable sources. I say "used to", because with DRM-free iTunes and Amazon MP3, there is now an alternative that I'm willing to pay for. Plus, I'm finally old enough to have money for this kind of thing. :-)

    In my student years however, I pirated music left, right and center. The upshot of this: I encountered music styles and artists that I wouldn't have come across otherwise - stuff that doesn't play on the radio (that was before, non-mainstream music. I would get these artists' CDs off BitTorrent if I liked the song - and I ended up buying much more of their music if I really liked it.

    So these days I buy much more than I "freeload" music. When I stumble upon something I like, I buy it.

    And in addition, it finally dawned on me that if I don't pay for the music I enjoy, there might not be any more music I enjoy, because most musicians can't afford to just give away their work for free.

    That simple logic seems to escape the Pirate Bay guys.

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