Surprise, Surprise: Canadians Aren't Interested In ISP Levies

from the who-would-have-thought... dept

Michael Geist points to two new polls released by Angus Reid Strategies, which show that Canadians are overwhelmingly against the idea of ISP levies. It should come as no surprise that 79% of people surveyed about the possible Canadian content levy on new media said it would be an "unnecessary and/or inappropriate fee that would end up being passed along to consumers." In another survey on file sharing, 45% of people said that downloading music free of charge was just "what people should be able to do on the Internet," while only 3% believed that downloaders are "criminals who should be punished by law." 27% said that it's something people shouldn't be doing, but that "it's not a big deal." 73% of people thought that a music tax was "unnecessary and/or inappropriate" (which ought to disappoint a few Canadian creator groups calling for this sort of thing...).

The survey also found that those who download music are "often the most voracious music enthusiasts," more likely to buy a CD in the next month (41% vs. 34% of non-file sharers) and more likely to have attended a concert in the past year (65% vs. 52%), which should, again, not surprise many people around here. This is just another bit of evidence that "piracy" is not a problem and, instead of pushing for ISPs to collect levies or act as copyright cops, musicians should focus on connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy. Though, somehow, I don't expect the whining to stop anytime soon...



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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    I'm against the levies & I am Canadian! ...

    I remember long afternoons sitting by the radio to tape that great song ... just to have some DJ ruin it by talking over the fade-out. In tie end I was motivated to make some money to buy the album so I could mix my own tunes onto casettes. Downloading music from the internet has made it easier to not HAVE to buy the Album/CD/DVD but since I appreciate the content, and I believe in paying for things (rather that taking them without paying for them) ... I still do not do it.

    A digital copy is only as good as your backup strategy & I would personally have a hard copy of the product.But I'm strange that way. To me it is a simple matter of "right & wrong". Just because a bank has money & I don't does not make it right for me to go in and rob the place(steal it). If the musician chooses to sell their product and not just give it away, what makes it okay for me to possess it without purchasing it?

     

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      DS78, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      But what if you could walk into a bank and take a copy of money without removing the bank's money?

      /Devil's Advocate

       

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        Some IT Guy, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:39am

        Re: Re:

        That is probably the worst analogy ever. This statement wasn't arguing that it was lawful to download music. It was saying that imposing a tax on it is absurd.

        Plus when has printing money ever benefited a bank? NEVER

        When has downloading music ever benefited the artist? Almost Always!

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:52am

        Re: Not money

        In the case of $, the argument here is that it would devalue the money in the hands of others. However, music is not the same as money.

        The problem is that you are taking physical property rules and trying to relate them to intellectual property. These two things are completely different and should never be compared.

        The better comparison is if you went to the bank and liked the logo on their sign a decided to copy that logo exactly in a webpage you were creating for a different business. What kind of damage or financial loss has the bank incurred in this situation? Most reasonable people would say none whatsoever as long as the signs could not be confused. However under current law the bank could end up owning the web designer's business and potentially also take a huge chunk of change from the other business who unknowingly received the logo on their webpage. The rules are unreasonable and therefore generally not followed by the large percentage of the population. Ideas were intended to be shared not stamped with a (c) and a price extracted at every mention.

         

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        Paul (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re:

        @DS78: Inflation... It would technically be possible to make a copy of the money without removing it from the bank. Most of your "money" in the bank is just a number on the computer and not physical dollar bills. Making copy would just involve changing the number on your account.

         

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    Some IT Guy, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:28am

    Trent Reznor anyone?

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    The survey also found that those who download music are "often the most voracious music enthusiasts," more likely to buy a CD in the next month (41% vs. 34% of non-file sharers) and more likely to have attended a concert in the past year (65% vs. 52%),

    I love when numbers are used to prove a point, but don't entirely add up.

    What percentage of users actively download music? If 25% of the people download music actively, and 41% of them are likely to buy a CD, that is a 10.25% buy rate. The other 75% don't download,and 34% of them will buy music, making their buy rate about 25%. Wait! That means people who don't download buy more music! EEK!

    Without the KEY number (percentages of active downloaders versus non-downloaders) the numbers are absolutely meaningless.

    (and just for those thinking I made the numbers up, Angus Reid says "Among Canadian Internet users, 23 per cent say they have downloaded free digital music files from peer-to-peer file sharing sites in the past 30 days")

    So, wait, oops... people who don't file share actually buy more CDs and attend more concerts than people who do. How odd.

     

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      Blaise Alleyne (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

      Re:

      What percentage of users actively download music? If 25% of the people download music actively, and 41% of them are likely to buy a CD, that is a 10.25% buy rate. The other 75% don't download,and 34% of them will buy music, making their buy rate about 25%. Wait! That means people who don't download buy more music! EEK!... So, wait, oops... people who don't file share actually buy more CDs and attend more concerts than people who do. How odd.


      First of all, the key point was that downloaders are "often the most voracious music enthusiasts," not that downloaders necessarily purchase the most as a group. Per capita, downloaders tend to be more likely to spend money on music. They're the biggest fans. Now, this particular study didn't find this, but I would bet that the people who are the biggest fans and more likely to spend more are also more likely to spend more money. That is, when you put out your Live DVD or limited edition boxed set, it's the "most voracious music enthusiasts" that you're targeting.

      Second, that ~25% of people had downloaded music in the last 30 days doesn't mean that the other 75% of people are non-downloaders. What about occasional downloaders, or people who've downloaded music in the past but have stopped?

      The claim isn't that most people download music, but that most people didn't find anything all that objectionable with it. And, the claim isn't necessarily that downloaders are the biggest group of consumers, but that they are likely the biggest fans, likely to spend the most per capita on music.

       

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    Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    *chirp chirp* the sounds of crickets when all of it comes down and is exposed as a lie.

    Worse as I thought about it, it's amazing that such rabid music fans aren't bigger buyers of concert tickets and CDs. 41% and 62% is prety low, you would think that they would be much higher.

    With those sorts of numbers, the music business could totally kill off the file sharers and never deal with them again, and lose less than 1/3 of the total market. The other choice, I guess, is to give everything away and toss out 2/3 of the market.

    Just remember, in that concert in Toronto with 10,000 people in the seats, 8000 of them don't download music. So in a sellout situation, it makes you wonder what benefit giving music away would bring.

    Let me ask the crickets.

     

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      Blaise Alleyne (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

      Re:

      With those sorts of numbers, the music business could totally kill off the file sharers and never deal with them again, and lose less than 1/3 of the total market. The other choice, I guess, is to give everything away and toss out 2/3 of the market.


      Why would making your music available toss out 2/3 of the market? The finding that a person who downloads is more likely to buy a CD than a person who doesn't suggests the exact opposite. People hear music, people like music, people buy music -- in that order. Taking advantage of the internet to spread your music around grows your market (if the music is any good), it doesn't toss it away.

      And, "totally killing off the file sharers" has a couple problems. In a the positive sense, again, these people are likely to be the biggest fans, more likely -- individually -- to spend money on music. Macropayments make a ton of sense, and file sharers who are more likely to spend money on music make up a pretty important 1/3 of the market. Micropayments, on the other hand, don't fair so well, with only 12% of survey respondents claiming to have purchased from a store like iTunes in the past 30 days. If you're interested in business models that work, it's a pretty bad idea to "kill off" the 1/3 of the market that's most likely to spend money.

      Plus, what do you mean by "kill off?" Are you talking about the RIAA's strategy, or something else? An overwhelming majority of survey respondents don't think that file sharers should be punished by the law. The problem with campaigns like the RIAA's is that it alienates more than just the file sharer demographic, but also many people who think that file sharing is "what people should be able to do on the internet." If not the RIAA strategy, how do you suggest "killing off" the file sharers?

      I'd suggest, rather, giving them more of a reason to buy. If you want to make money... why "kill off" when you can capitalize?


      Just remember, in that concert in Toronto with 10,000 people in the seats, 8000 of them don't download music.


      Again, "didn't download music in the last 30 days" doesn't mean "non-downloader."

       

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        Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Taking advantage of the internet to spread your music around grows your market (if the music is any good), it doesn't toss it away.

        Actually, the simple answer is that the slight benefit is massively outweighed by the massive potential loss.

        It is important to consider this - the 23% downloaders (active) are likely the active music fan. These are people who are putting some time and or effort into downloading music. Yet, even as the top 23% of all, they are only marginally more likely to buy a CD or attend a concert. In fact, the numbers are so low that it could make you wonder.

        So, that 10,000 seat concert has:

        8000 non-downloaders (no proof they do download)
        2000 downloaders.

        Take away the free music so that the downloads lose their desire and slip back into the average crowd, and you get:

        8000 non downloaders
        1600 were downloaders
        400 seats for sale.

        So for all the free music out there, for all the downloads, for all the giveaways, net you are looking at a 4% increase in concert attendance. Now 4% isn't anything to complain about, except if the concert would have sold out anyway (if they sold 9600, the last 400 shouldn't be an issue), then in fact nothing was gained from all the free music after all.

        The same thing with buying CDs. The numbers are so marginal in their improvements and the group so small, that it makes you wonder. For every 1000 cds sold, its like this:

        700 bought by the non-downloaders
        300 by downloaders.

        slip them back into the average and you get:

        700 bought by non downloaders
        248 bought by previous downloaders.

        52 copies in 1000, or about 5%. Again, nothing to sneeze at. But to toss the record business out the window (stop selling those stupid plastic discs, as has been suggested) would mean that the income of 948 sales would be lost to make some downloaders happy. (ever notice that downloader and freeloader rhyme? Hmmm)

        All of this doesn't even consider that concept that the top downloaders are also potentially bigger than average music fans that would likely buy more CDs than the average anyway. So in reality, they may be buying UNDER their potential and attending concerts under their potential because they have so much free stuff already.

        So it's a question of business here: what are you giving up, and what do you get in return?

         

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          Blaise Alleyne (profile), Mar 20th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So it's a question of business here: what are you giving up, and what do you get in return?


          I couldn't agree less, because you say... "take away the free music so that the downloads lose their desire and slip back into the average crowd..." as if it were that easy.

          How do you propose "taking away free music?" The whole premise of peer-to-peer file sharing services is that they don't come from a central location. If people can hear your music, they can record it, and if they can record it, they can share it. If you don't want your music to be shared online, the only way to be sure of that is to not let people listen to it.

          This isn't a question of "should we let people share or not?" It's a question of "is sharing even a problem?" Because people are sharing whether or not you want them to.

          Nothing you've said has suggested that it's harmful -- and that's the first part of the point. Even if downloaders are only marginally more likely to spend money, they are more likely. Where's the harm?

          (1) It's not something you can stop, (2) it's actually beneficial. So why not recognize that and orient your business to take advantage of it?


          Second, all your number crunching about CDs and concerts is pretty artificial. You act is if it's some controlled environment, where fans never interact with each other. How often do you hear about music from friends, family, "tastemakers," or mavens (i.e.tipping point)?

          The "most voracious music enthusiasts" are also often your most enthusiastic and effective promoters. To suggest that you can just forget about the top 23% of your fans by "taking away free music" (how, again?) and that it won't have any effect on the rest of the market is a bit naive.

          Why cut off your most enthusiastic fans, who are more likely to spend money and to promote your music to others?

          But to toss the record business out the window (stop selling those stupid plastic discs, as has been suggested) would mean that the income of 948 sales would be lost to make some downloaders happy. (ever notice that downloader and freeloader rhyme? Hmmm)


          I don't think many people are suggesting to "stop selling plastic discs" -- and if so, I disagree -- but rather, to stop relying on sales of plastic discs. To recognize that you're in the music business and not the plastic disc business doesn't mean that you stop selling CDs, it just means that you're open to other ideas which might actually end up making you more money (or selling more CDs, if downloaders are more likely to buy CDs), and may or may not involve selling recorded music. It's about recognizing that sales of recorded music are not the end you seek, but just one method of getting there.

          And... how did you come to the conclusion that people downloading music means lost sales? If non-downloaders and downloaders alike are more likely (or even, just as likely) to buy a CD... why does allowing downloads mean lost sales?

           

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    Stephen Downes (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 8:00am

    Nobody wants levies, sure.

    But if you word things a bit differently you'd get a very different result. Because Canadians have been paying levies for years without complaint.

    Ask Canadians this: would you be in favour of retaining current pricing on media, with this ensuring that there will be no lawsuits, restrictions on downloads, or DRM?

    You would get huge approval ratings.

    This, though, is the current state of affairs in canada, and it does include a levy.

    Even if the choice to increase the levy were offered, if it were given as the alternative to lawsuits, restrictions and DRM, I have no doubt most Canadians would choose the levy.

    Surveys are always a very questionable foundation on which to base a story, and this article is proof of that.

     

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      Blaise Alleyne (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      I assume you're referring to the levy on blank media? It's important to note that it doesn't apply to digital media, so it's becoming less and less relevant (how many people use blank CDs or cassettes for music nowadays?).

      I agree, most Canadians would choose a levy over lawsuits, but why does that have to be the choice? A survey is just a tool for gauging public opinion, but this survey suggests that most are not interests in levies or lawsuits. There are other solutions.

       

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    Ian (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Weird Harold

    When you make up numbers to support your point, it should not surprise you that the resulting numbers support your point. It's circular, but you haven't actually offered any new evidence or argument.

    The note about rhyming is just bizarre. Downloader rhymes with freeloader, but also with muzzle-loader, front-loader, and various other random things. Rhymes don't imply connection.

    My purchasing habits vary pretty much directly with my downloading. In fact, the peak of my purchasing was with services where I could freely explore new music. My personal tastes don't tend to be reflected by the local radio stations at all. When Napster was around, it was frequently my habit to type random terms into it to expose myself to new and unexpected things. This resulted in a lot of purchases, purely to support the musicians in question. I don't download much any more, as torrents give you an entire CD, which isn't really suited for exposing yourself to lots of varied content. I also don't buy any music, because I never hear new things I might want. In fact, the current state of things, which has resulted from direct pressures by the industry, is a lot less conducive to sampling things to get an idea of what you like, and a lot more conducive to avoiding buying a CD by just downloading it.

    Prevent me from downloading and you don't turn me into a fan who is going to spend money instead. You mostly make me unaware of your product, and vaguely annoyed. Neither of these things translate into dollars for you. Even with bands I have liked in the past--yes, I may have liked your last album (or, say, three songs from it). That doesn't mean I'm going to like your next one. If I don't hear something that interests me before I buy it, I'm not buying it. Maybe I hear things at a concert... assuming I already liked your band enough to go to the concert, and assuming you play shows in my area, and assuming they're priced so that I can afford to go and scheduled so that I can go. Inefficient at best.

    Lock down your music so only paying customers can hear it, and you'll find it hard to find new customers. You may also find it hard to sell to past customers, unless they were so enthralled they're willing to buy on reputation alone.

     

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