File-Sharing Is Good For Digital Music Sales

from the spin-like-an-LP dept

The RIAA and its international counterpart released their latest sales figures today, of course taking the opportunity to whine about flie-sharing and blame piracy for all their industry’s woes. The IFPI says, though, digital music sales shot up 259% in the first half of 2005 over last year, with much of that coming from things like mobile phone ringtones. While the music industry pats itself on the back for initiatives like implementing copy protection that just annoys buyers and its continued aggressive legal strategy, it’s really doubtful that file-sharing is on the wane. Every time the RIAA gets one site or service shut down, users just move on. So although the groups scream loudest about a slight overall decline in music sales, the fact of the matter is that digital music sales are increasing in spite of piracy, and thanks to sales of non-traditional content like phone ringtones. Now imagine what would happen to the music business if labels embraced this kind of innovation and proactively changed their business models, rather than just stumbling upon it.


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Comments on “File-Sharing Is Good For Digital Music Sales”

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14 Comments
darren says:

Re: No Subject Given

i actually almost entirely disagree. mike is usually so good at cutting through bs and ripping people when they reach misguided opinions through faulty analysis of data, but his technolibertarian bias is so enormous (it easily pervades at least half of the site’s postings) that he just can’t see that maybe the RIAA’s efforts have had an impact on piracy.

his argument that users just move on to new file-sharing sites just doesn’t pass the smell test with me. a lot of people who originally used file-sharing did so because there wasn’t a real alternative option like itunes or the various other online legal download sites that have cropped up. many of the users who continued to use the file-sharing sites did so because they thought the risks involved were not enough to offset the rewards in downloading free music. however, as the music industry has cracked down on these sites through various means (outright shutdowns, bogus files, etc.), making it progressively harder for wannabe downloaders to get files, it would seem that more users would appreciate the convenience and reliability associated with a legitimate online music site. Plus, the added legal risks that a file-sharer user must now accept because of RIAA efforts in this area make it an even more complicated risk-reward decision.

dont get me wrong – the music industry sucks. it’s an oligopolistic bunch of backward-thinking morons that only agreed to the innovation of things like itunes and ringtones because their industry was evaporating. and they continue to miss the point on a host of issues – pressing for higher prices, pricing subscription services as to make them economically infeasible, etc. But the efforts of RIAA have not been in vain – i think they have permanently reduced filesharing services to a small but hardcore group of users

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

I have never downloaded more music than in the last year. It is most certainly not decreasing – and not decreasing sales, either. People tend to like the legit copies – they want to hold these things. The people pirating software, music, etc. are the people who probably wouldn’t be buying it if they couldn’t pirate it anyway. For example, I have bought a few CDs, and downloaded countless amounts of music. If I were not able to download this music, I would not have bought the CDs in response… I simply would have gone without as much music, which I did for a long time, before I got the internet. It has not changed the amount I have spent by one cent, and the same is likely true with most other people. The same applies to obtaining copyrighted books, etc. – people aren’t going to print out entire books; they want the real things. Being able to view them digitally won’t deter consumers from buying them.

Boo says:

Re: No Subject Given

What they need to do is to stop handicapping the legal download industry with over-the-top drm and monthly subscriptions and self-destructing files. It’s just pure greed. You dont sell more by pissing your customer off!!! They will learn or go bust.
Meanwhile independant artists who distribute freely will flurish and develop the new market structure of the future where income will be based on ticket sales, endorsement deals, merchandise, advertising from homepage/download sites etc.
Do we need radio and mtv for this to work? can you say “podcast”?

ted says:

Re: Re: Podcast?

can you say streaming audio? podcasts are for whiny yuppies with nothing better to do with there time. iPod? i had one of those once, it was called a Nomad, and it held my entire collection at the time. now it would take 3 of the 60gig iPods to hold it all. I’m waiting on a 500gig MP3 player 🙂

And iTunes wouldnt be worth it untill their prices hit a quarter a song.

Boo says:

Re: Re: Re: Podcast?

dont spread ignorent hate messages about the ipod, just because it is popular and you want to seem above everyone else. the ipod is popular because of it’s size, weight, capacity, looks and good marketing… Nomads have 1 out of five – dont get me wrong they have their place, but non-technogeek pockets isnt it!
…and “podcasting” is a generic term given to practice of creating/downloading audio streams for listening to on the move on ANY portable media player. Calling people names because they choose to do this is extremely childish.
…and finally, streaming media requires you to be hooked up online – not practical for music on the go and not practical for people’s need to “own” their music files.

TED says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Podcast?

You’re right, iPods are just trendy and people deserve to get mugged for wearing their Bright white earbuds everywere and not paying a bit of attention to what is going on around them. i think personal media devices have done more damage to socity in general then they have done to help sell records.

Speaking of selling records, what happended to making good music to sell records? pop/rap music has pretty much reguritated on itself for the last 8 or so years. everytime i turn on the FM radio i cant tell if the songs are new or if they are the same ones as always.

Which brings me to another point, XMradio(or sat radio in general). I have had XM for two years now and i wouldnt have it any other way. and my myfi goes with me everywhere, its streaming audio togo. and before someone talks about reception, it records 5 hours of audio too. its the greatest thing since MP3 cd players.

sorry if i come of as high and mighty. i just get so enraged by the damn music suppliers for still charging the same price for a cd as they did 10 years ago. are they saying it still costs the same to get a cd to the shelves? i highly doubt that. and now they want to raise prices? that is why i download all my music. and if a cd is good enough i will buy it. Bottom line: make good cd’s and people will buy them.

ted says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Podcast?

it is worth noteing that i think iPods are very cool and they produce the best audio of any other device out there.

i still think they are bastards for charging an outragious $0.99 a song. granted you can just get the songs you like. but there is no cost to distribute. its the same file being licenced to(not bought) millions of people. nice margins. oh and BTW at anytime apple could decide to take you licence away and you would not be able to listen to it anymore. not that they would do that, but if RIAA has their way….

Mike C. (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Podcast?

“i still think they are bastards for charging an outragious [sic] $0.99 a song. granted you can just get the songs you like. but there is no cost to distribute”

You are wrong. There are always costs, both fixed and variable. For electronic distribution there may not be any extra costs per se, like packaging, shipping, handling, and storefront retail. But on the other hand bandwidth (the online equivalent to production) is not free. And don’t forget that online music services must have database managers, software engineers, security specialists, etc. Just because its intangible doesn’t mean it’s without its costs.

ted says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Podcast?

also its worth noteing that i think iPods are great and they definitly produce the best sounding personal audio on the market.

i still think they are bastards for charging $0.99 a song. and now there is talk of raising prices???? WTF? prices are supposed to go down as technology gets cheeper, not up. its brillant, make one MP3, sell the licence to listen to it only five computers with iTunes installed, repeat a million times, laugh all the way to the bank.

BTW Apple reserves the right to teminate your iTunes account at anytime without reason. not that they would do that. its not like they are in with RIAA…. or as i like to call them “the greediest bastards on the planet” what your private jet cost to much to fly? Quit being a bitch and try to befriend your customers, not piss them off more.

oh and if your reading this RIAA, no matter what you do to protect your precious music files, there will be a thousand people working on braking it. you cant stop the poeple. Fuck off RIAA, you’re all ready going to hell for trying to sue that 12 year old.

ted says:

Re: Re: Re:5 By the looks of your grammar...

i would guess you’re a 35 year old fat man that pretends to be 19YOBL that tries to trick little boys into his van and rape them all night long.
but its a good thing i dont judge people by thier spelling.
and its posted twice since this board decided not to post my comment for 10 min. after the first one was there right away. jackass.

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