Why is it that only the recording industry sponsored studies show that unauthorized file sharing hurts the music business? The latest research report found that those who use unauthorized file sharing networks are also much more likely to spend money on legal download services, handing over more than four times as much money on average. In other words, these folks are the recording industry's best customers -- and yet the industry still wants to sue them all as criminals. And, of course, as with any study suggesting that the recording industry's methods are backwards thinking and damaging, the industry responds with some doublespeak and misleading facts, claiming that some uncited, but which has "consensus" around it, is that while one-third of music buyers buy more, two-thirds buy less. Proof please? The spokesperson also frets that overall sales are down -- but doesn't seem willing to admit that there are lots of variables that might cause this, including the overall economy, the quality of the recordings coming out and the competition for disposable dollars, since music now has to compete with mobile phones, internet access, movies, video games and many other things that it didn't have to compete with not so long ago. On top of this, there is some evidence suggesting that overall music spending actually is up, but that much of it is focused on independent "long tail" artists -- rather than the big hit wonders the mainstream recording industry represents. Once again, all this seems to show is that the recording industry seems to think that it somehow has a right to enforce not just its business model, but that customers must spend just as much as they used to with the big record labels who make up the industry associations.
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