It's no secret that the RIAA has been known to fudge the numbers to prove their point that file sharing hurts sales. What was never entirely clear, however, was why they simply refused to believe any study that suggested file sharing could help sales. If anyone were interested in such studies, it should be the RIAA -- because they would show them a great way to increase sales (which should be their goal). However, Mark Cuban makes an excellent point about why the RIAA is acting the way they are, despite these studies. Even if sales are up, it's not the sales of RIAA members. Cuban suggests that sales are probably up, but it's the independent musicians who are making up the difference, while RIAA member sales are holding steady, or slightly decreasing. Remember, the RIAA represents the big music labels -- not the tiny ones. Almost everyone agrees that the real impact of file sharing is that it spreads the success outward. Rather than just a few mega-rockstars, you get many more successful musicians. The big record labels have built their business models on the idea of just a few mega-rockstars dominating the market. What this means, then, is that the RIAA members are losing marketshare. It's not overall sales that are down, it's just that the competition from smaller players is taking away sales from the big labels -- which is why that coalition of independent artists is supporting the Grokster side of the case. If this theory is true (and a lot of the evidence does seem to support it), then what the RIAA is really fighting about is not saving the recording industry. It's about saving the RIAA.
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