Swedish Study Shows File Sharing And Music Buying Go Hand-In-Hand

from the also:-spotify-is-HUGE dept

It's an argument often made here at Techdirt: file sharers aren't always just leeches on the underside of content creators. Very often, they are true music fans constantly patrolling the cutting edge of music. A study released by Sweden's Internet Infrastructure Foundation shows that, among other things, Spotify is certifiably big with younger internet users (85% of those aged 16-25 use Spotify) along with some other interesting statistics:
In Sweden, Spotify usage is even running ahead of use of community sites, IM, blog reading and game playing.

One in three people (37%) listen to Spotify during a month, which is twice as many as file sharing (18%) and many more than those who buy a CD (9%) or pay per song (4%) during a month.
Spotify's enormous market share no doubt is related to it being a truly "native" application, and while it is definitely more popular with the under-25 crowd, it still is popular enough to supplant other internet activities including "use of community sites, IM, blog reading and game playing."

Of course, Sweden also gave the world the Pirate Party, so it's also unsurprising that file sharing is bigger than ever, with 21% of those surveyed indicating that they share on a regular basis. But it's not all bad news for the music industry. On top of near universal adoption of fully legal streaming via Spotify, the report also indicates that file sharers are on par with non-file sharers when it comes to purchasing music:
"If we compare file-sharers with those who do not share files, we find that there is no difference in how often they buy CDs. However, a larger percentage of file sharers pay to download individual songs than those who do not share files."
In fact, it looks as if file sharers may be purchasing more music than their non-sharing counterparts. In fact, despite the fact that the Pirate Party originated in Sweden, the outlook for Sweden's recording industry has been on the upswing since 2009, when it posted a 10.2% gain. Most of this was due to streaming services, which accounted for nearly 50% of Swedish music revenue.

The Swedish arm of the IFPI also credits new legislation with the reduction in file sharing, along with the new streaming services. According to its numbers, 6 out 10 file sharers either stopped or reduced their sharing in response to the legislation.

No matter which angle you view this from, using the IFPI's numbers or the Internet Infrastructure Foundation's, it's obvious that well-crafted legal streaming services are taking a bite out of file sharing. If the Big Four Three labels and the major studios want to continue to convert the next generation of customers to legal services, they need to get behind services like Spotify, Netflix, etc. rather than cripple them by withholding content or pricing themselves out of the market. It's also nice to see another set of numbers reaffirming the fact that many file sharers are still buying music, despite having access to cheaper, free-er options.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Yes, that's why in the age of piracy, record sales have gone up.

    oh wait, no they haven't.

    This is the usual Friday troll, for Saturday comments.

    stale.

     

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  2.  
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    DOlz (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:12pm

    Next

    The previous article was about the Finns And Norwegians. The next article better be about the Danes and Icelanders or someones feeling are going to get hurt.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:13pm

    I have to say that these studies all tend to ignore one thing: People who share music also tend to be putting more of their time into music, and as such, as the most likely buyers.

    In times without widespread file sharing, these would be the mega-fans, buying plenty of music.

    Considering recorded music sales (including online) are down 58% since the inception of Napster, I would say that any claim that piracy helps is completely, totally debunked.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:38pm

    Re:

    In times without widespread file sharing, these would be the mega-fans, buying plenty of music.

    File sharing is how people younger than you discover new songs. It works the same as that "radio" thing that you guys used to have. Remember? You'd hear a song on the radio (for free!), and then buy a vinyl record of the song.
    As such, people would be buying less music without widespread file sharing.

    Considering recorded music sales (including online) are down 58% since the inception of Napster, I would say that any claim that piracy helps is completely, totally debunked.

    That's a very specific number. Where are you quoting it from?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:38pm

    Re:

    Let me add this: The effects of piracy likely aren't are strong with the major music fans, but perhaps more strongly felt in the secondary tier - those are perhaps people who pirate for more selfish reasons, and less about connecting with anything - they just want tunes for their pod.

    Sales are so far off, clearly SOMEONE isn't buying. Pointing to a narrow group and saying "they still buy, piracy isn't a problem" is utter bullshit.

     

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  6.  
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    Nigel (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    Hey anonymous troll above me

    Do you have any research to back up your claims. I would like to see it.

    Nigel

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Hey anonymous troll above me

    No, pirates stole it.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Hey anonymous troll above me

    No, pirates stole it.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:56pm

    Re:

    Yeah, the loss in record sales definitely cannot be from the death of the album, or the addition of even more competing entertainment options, or the downturn in the global economy, or the creation of new forms of music revenue that aren't record sales.

    I mean, that would just be silly.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re:

    you just don't understand, if labels don't make gazillions of dollars the AC will be very, very sad.
    Do you want to make him sad?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    Re:

    They still measure in record sales? Compact Disks are killing the music industry!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes.

     

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  13.  
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    Killercool (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Which narrow group? The narrow group of people who admit to "unauthorized" streaming/downloading in a country where it is so socially acceptable that a political party was formed to ensure it stayed legal? That narrow group?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Someone thinks albums aren't made anymore and video games were invented in the year 2000.

    Some real bright bulbs around here.

     

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  15.  
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    Ed C., Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Re: Hey anonymous troll above me

    If your claims have no proof, then you really don't have anything.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you just being intentionally dumb or does it come naturally?

    The rise of digital music sales, iTunes, etc. have allowed consumers to purchase singles instead of full albums.

    Video gaming has exploded in popularity over the past decade.

     

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  17.  
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    IronM@sk, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    Re:

    In times without widespread file sharing, these would be the mega-fans, buying plenty of music.

    With all that extra disposable income that just magically came from where, exactly?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Re: Hey anonymous troll above me

    You spelled copyright infringement wrong.

     

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  19.  
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    Jay (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    Research

    No, pirates stole it.

    It seems you need research in this area. Allow me to help you here:

    Gaming - Valve - Piracy is a service issue

    Notch - Piracy is not theft

    Humble Indie Bundle - Still going strong even with torrents and downloads by illegitimate sites

    Gog - Get rid of DRM, make customers happy

    OC Remix - Giving away free entertainment for greater rewards

    Movies - Michael D Smith - Lack of legal channels leads to piracy. Also, Notice the title of his paper


    Crowdfunding is working for movies

    Research - Piracy increases quality of content

    The Copyright Wars - Seeing how increased litigation is affecting everyday American's lives and causing hyper awareness of the problem of copyright.

    If you want, I could go further. But it seems to me that you may need to read a little bit more on piracy and copyright law.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re:

    Well just like the nonsense about how numbers are down, of course CD sales are down, nobody buys CD's anymore, people buy MP3 and those cost a tenth of the price of a CD so it is just a miracle that those sales are not even more low.

    But when people look at the overall sales, apparently the industry has no problems since they grew every year since Napster is that not beautiful?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re: Research

    I can't be sure, but I have a strong feeling that, that comment was sarcasm.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    I used to buy music but then the RIAA starting indiscriminately suing people left and right and so I stopped buying music. I also don't download music either because I don't care anymore.

    Instead I buy things like Skyrim.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    actually i think theres some sort of recession on, maybe that has something to do with falling sales. but obviously not. /sarc

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You might wish to reconsider that purchase, AC 21, in light of the fact that Bethesda knowingly attempted to sue over a generic word, aka "scrolls". Any idiot company that thinks it can own a word and any of its uses (such as Bethesda, per this example, or more infamously, Monster Cable), is not worth supporting.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re:

    IFPI reports, year of 2000, and the year of 2010.

     

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  26.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I searched the 2010 report for 58% but couldn't find it.... Might have a dodgy PDF reader, can you let me know what page it appears on, cheers.

     

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  27.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re:

    Or they are buying from people not alligned with your precious RIAA and MPAA. There are now a lot of indie artists that aren't signed up with labels, and they are making money.

    Most 'pirates' are savvy enough to understand that buying a record or online download from a label-sponsored artist, almost nothing goes to the pocket of said artist. Most 'pirates' have enough grudges against the labels, that they don't want to be seen supporting those companies financially.

    So, those 'pirates' then go to indies and buy from them.

    Or wait till they can get a second-hand cd from somewhere. Because no money from that sale goes to the label.

     

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  28.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    addendum:
    People only have so much disposable income to spend on media.
    (if they have any at all)
    And now you have a market where store-bought video games cost about 50 bucks a game, that's a lot of records you could buy. Though even that is a bit of a stretch, as the prices of most cds haven't gone down much since the introduction of the pressed cd.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have to look for the old report from the year 2000, and see it's full number (35 billion or so) and then look at the current report 2010 (15 billion or so). That does include all sales including online / itunes stuff.

     

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  30.  
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    Paul, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    I think artists got too confourtable siting at home and making money of selling records, f*** you I'm not spending money on something I can get for free.

    You want to make money make me pay for a ticket to a concert I will do it gladly... Oh... I'm sorry 90% of this "artists" can't perform live in a concert.
    So on WTF am I spending money on???

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, gotta call bullshit on this.

    Worldwide, recorded music sales (including) from from around 35 billion (2000) to slightly less than 15 billion (2010 using IFPI reports from each of those years). In some markets, increases in ticket prices (but not really attendance) to live shows has somewhat made up the gap, but it appears to be a short term deal, as in 2010 concert sales and ticket prices both took a turn for the toilet.

    This would go against the "selling the scarce" theory that people would just take their recorded music money and instead pay for tickets. The reality appears to be more than the top acts were already doing as many dates as they could, and the only variable was ramping up ticket costs. What it has done is price them out of the reach of the average fan, breaking the cycle entirely.

    I would love to see your source for numbers... so [citation needed}

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, trademark law can be annoying, same with lawyers, but I fail to see how this one instance of buffoonery should suddenly make me go all boycotty.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The IFPI numbers reflect many of the indie acts sales as well (as it does collection "online sales" numbers for many sources). So that less than 15 billion number includes what the indies are selling in most cases.

    It doesn't register anything for what they give away. that would be their problem.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You didn't hear about the recession that almost became a Depression? Wow, I want your drugs, man.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    58% probably is the number given out by the IFPI for the sales of physical media only(i.e. CD's) it doesn't include, secondary merch, B2B transactions or digital media figures, that is why this people spouting this are so dishonest, they ignore all other revenue streams and scream harm where there is none.

     

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  36.  
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    Usual Friday Troll, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    I just thought I'd drop by to make some comments, seeing as it's Saturday.

    Every person everywhere has an infinite amount of time and money. The only explanation for any downturn in music sales is greedy, basement-dwelling leeches and the ISPs that love them.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Right that is why the RIAA stopped their "educational campaign" because it was going so well.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The IFPI represents indies like Ford represent Asian vehicles manufacturer's.

    When you can't get in in some market do what big companies do, create a LLC and say you are indie.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    http://grabstats.com/statcategorymain.asp?StatCatID=9

    That may be difficult since the RIAA and the IFPI modified how they counted music sales, plus stopped publishing those numbers to the public.

    But from the little sample that people can gather there is no problems with music lately apparently.

    Since physical was offset by live.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re:

    http://grabstats.com/statcategorymain.asp?StatCatID=9

    The numbers from 2006~2011

    To get the older numbers you need to register with the IFPI and pay them, which is not going to happen, if they want to claim damages they should be posting those numbers all over the place instead they stopped public publication because people were finding discrepancies in their numbers.

     

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  41.  
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    Killercool (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It DID turn into a depression in a few places.

    Spain, Greece, etc.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry that you are so full of shite.

    Total revenues have grown, apparently live shows even offset the loses in physical sales(i.e. CD's), also there are reasons why people stopped buying, first the major market for music started an "educational campaign"(i.e. suing customers), for some reason it was short lived and produced a very sharp decline in sales, a recession gripped the world and it is still ongoing, the financial crisis in the market plus outsourcing practically guaranteed that people don't have disposable income anymore, there are others things people pay attention now, music is just a commodity but unlike grains they are not vital or essential for human existence, people can't eat music, they can't wear music, they can't get warm from music on a cold night, so it is no surprise that maybe people are using the little money they still have to buy those other things you know those things that are important to survival.

    Historically arts only flourish where there is a working class to support it, disposable income goes down so does expending on arts, so it is no surprise that even though Americans are buying less somewhere else in the world people are expending more on it and the total revenues globally keep growing and they grow in regions that have zero protections against piracy so piracy can't be the problem because one can even say that piracy is what is driving the growth in those markets, because they keep growing so fast.

    Nollywood, Bollywood and China are just but a few of markets where there are no "protections" and they still see growth, the porn industry just proved that one can become big without any protections whatsoever, apparently nobody supports porn but everybody keeps consuming it.

    You can't explain why in places where "piracy" the imaginary construct is rampant people can see phenomenal growth and I doubt you can explain why in industries where there is no protections whatsoever like in the restaurant business where everyone can copy a recipe from anyone mega corporations have emerged.

    That is why you are full of shite.
    That is why granting monopolies to people like you is just bad and evil, buskers should be able to use anything on the market to make a living, others artists should not have problems finding a place to play or have to pay another bum that does no real work but claim "intellectual property" on something. A monopoly that last life + 95 years is not only absurd is just immoral, the little details like control over derivatives are a barrier and a threat to business everywhere and so is the fraking "non-literal-copying" crap that basically blurred what is legal and what is not making it almost impossible to have any certainty or safety in what one does, is so risky that every artists should open a LLC to try and shield themselves from all the full burden of liabilities that plague the place, which of course exclude any small "guy" out there and when people use it you muppets scream foul play. That is not to talk about fiscal paradises that normal US citizens don't even know what they are.

     

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  43.  
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    Atkray (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hey anonymous troll above me

    Not sure if it is me or you but one of us has a broken sarcasm detector.

     

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  44.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Strange... those sound like the places where idiots ACs are saying they shouldn't be offering cheaper legal services because there's too much piracy. I wonder if there's a link between widespread poverty and the refusal to pay inflated prices for luxury goods?

     

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  45.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re:

    Probably his ass, the same place he gets his "facts".

     

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  46.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You know, these discussions would be a lot easier if you understood things like words and logical arguments.

    Here, for example, the AC above you is clearly noting that there's a lot more money going into other industries that compete with music (games and home video markets are demonstrably far more lucrative than they were 15 years ago), while also noting that unbundling has led to albums being far less popular than they once were.

    You seem to think that this means that he's saying that those industries were suddenly invented and that albums aren't made.

    One of you is an idiot, and I'm afraid it's not him.

     

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  47.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    Yes, that's why in the age of piracy, record sales have gone up.

    oh wait, no they haven't.


    Oh wait, yes they have.

    Unless you mean "record" literally, and are talking about vinyl albums. Sales of vinyl have gone up too.

    Obviously, you are on the usual Friday troll for Saturday comments. Stale.

     

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  48.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    Sales are NOT down

    Hey, trolls, can you at least come up with some facts to support your opinions?

    Music purchases are not down, and have never gone down:
    Music Purchases and Net Revenue For Artists Are Up, Gross Revenue for Labels is Down
    A Big Music Year for Jackson, Boyle, Swift, Digital Downloads… and Vinyl?
    Broken Records: Music Sales for Albums and Digital Tracks up in First Half of 2011

    What has declined is profits from music purchases. This has nothing to do with fewer purchases, but the type of purchases that are made. More people are buying digital tracks, and more people are buying them a la carte rather than as complete albums.

    In other words, what has caused the decline in music profits is not lack of sales, not piracy, but the shift from physical media to the digital format, and the "de-bundling" of songs from albums.

    And, by the way, which consumers spend the most money on digital music? That's right, the pirates:
    Downloading 'myths' challenged
    Gov't Commissioned Study Finds P2P Downloaders Buy More Music
    Study finds file-sharers buy ten times more music
    Illegal downloaders 'spend the most on music', says poll

    Naturally, labels and studios are trying to bury this fact:
    Movie industry buries report proving pirates are great consumers
    Pirates Are The Music Industry’s Most Valuable Customers

    Now, obviously, nobody can claim that the increase in purchases was due to piracy. It's likely that people pirate and purchase for the same reason: they simply value music more than others.

    But there's no evidence that they would make more purchases if piracy was not an option.

    And if your goal is to encourage them to continue valuing music, treating them like "parasites" and "criminals" is exactly the wrong way to do it. In fact, the severe decline in music profits began only after Napster was shut down (purchases - and profits - increased between 1999-2001), and the lawsuits against file sharers became widespread news.

    So, the severe actions against file sharers almost certainly hurt the labels' bottom line more than file sharing did in the first place. For them, the solution was worse than the problem - just like it was for everyone else.

     

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  49.  
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    Overcast (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Of course it goes hand in hand - Radio was the prime driver for record sales.

    It was free music, from the customer's point of view.

     

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  50.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah yes, the collect-for-the-indies-in-case-they-might-want-a-part-of-the-royalty-pie-scam.

    Because if they want their piece of that pie, they'd have to pay ludicrous membership fees, so it's not really worth their while to make claim to that money.

     

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  51.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re:

    This is why I say that SOPA is about control. The labels could control radio (payola, and just how many independent artists have you heard over the years on radio and tv?), but they can't control the Internet.

    The labels are deathly afraid that you're going to buy from independent artists instead of the artists that the labels approve off.

     

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  52.  
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    Bengie, Nov 20th, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even though the legal dept of Bethesda went after the word "Scrolls", the developers did not agree with that stance.

    Kind of sucks. It looks like a great game, the developers seem to be nice people, but their legal dept is a bunch of douches like most other ones are.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2011 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re:

    I see your point and while I tend (somewhat) to disagree with you, perhaps people are not buying because much of the music is bad.
    There have been some wonderful music made in just the last year but the pop music tends to be a one hit wonder or just bad.

    What confuses me is that, almost everyone I know buys music (Mostly off iTunes instead of a Wallmart, etc.) and that should be making someone happy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Nov 21st, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Oddly, indies make up 70% of the market now. The RIAA and affiliates are so small that they're going to go up any day now. And I can't wait.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2011 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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