Hide Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

A Lack Of Scarcity Has (Almost) Nothing To Do With Piracy

from the misunderstanding-the-premise dept

Took a week off from my series concerning the economics of abundance, but wanted to jump right back into it this week. I started out with a discussion on how the number zero seems to screw up otherwise sensible people when it comes to economics, and followed that up with a post on the economics of abundance is not a moral issue. I had planned to move on to more about the actual economics, but the responses have delayed that for at least a little while.


Some of the complaints about the last piece highlighted one aspect that perhaps I had not made clear: unauthorized downloads, “piracy” or “stealing content” (if you want to use those phrases) have almost nothing to do with this discussion. People criticizing the posts on this topic keep going back to the idea that this is all some big defense of such practices when nothing is further from the truth. This series is very much written from the perspective of the producer of content, not the consumer. That is, we’re trying to make clear the basic economics so that the producer of the content can use that to his or her advantage. So, the lack of scarcity we’re talking about is based on the fundamental nature of the content: that it has zero marginal cost to make a new copy once the original is made. That’s a simple fact that has nothing to do with whether or not people are making unauthorized copies. That nature of the content is fundamental. So everything that we’re saying here applies just as much to content if there were no “piracy” at all. If there were an industry where there was a lack of scarcity, but no piracy, the information here would apply just the same.

Now, I do say “almost” nothing to do with piracy. The way that unauthorized copies play into this discussion is in the realization that they’re a fact of the marketplace. That is, they’re helping to accelerate the impact of that lack of scarcity, and only helps to highlight why the producers of content need to pay attention and make changes sooner, rather than later. Many of the recent actions taken by organizations like the RIAA, the MPAA and the BSA represent a fundamental misunderstanding of this fact. They believe two things that are absolutely wrong. First, that the lack of scarcity is only due to piracy and, second, that there’s some way to really stop piracy. Both of these things are wrong. The lack of scarcity is due to the fact that the content has zero marginal cost — which is true no matter what, and unauthorized copies are always going to be an issue. So, based on that, why not try to understand what happens when you have a lack of scarcity and how to profit from it, rather than fighting the obvious trend?


Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “A Lack Of Scarcity Has (Almost) Nothing To Do With Piracy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
47 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

i like this post. i’ve seen many people blast you for “encouraging” or “justifying” illegal acts, such as piracy.

however, it is far from the true. i hope everyone who reads this will see the difference between downloading an illegal mp3 from the fact that another mp3 can be made for “nothing” (remember, servers, computers and what not cost money to make/run) that’s the one fact i would argue you about. it’s not that it has zero marginal cost, it has a marginal cost that aproaches zero very rapidly (kinda like the limit of 1/x as x goes to infinity)

all in all, thank you.

Alex Z says:

Save imperical data please.....

My primary issue with this series is it’s total lack of empirical data. Anecdotes are helpful, but in the science of economics they almost always lead the observer to the wrong conclusion.

I am a statistical economist – as you may remember from my comment on your first series article, I studied marginal transaction cost theory. The evidence is on your side, but you need to roll up your sleeves, do a little research, then present it. Let me give you a little help on where to start looking:

As I stated in my earlier post, there will always be two finite resources in this debate: The size of the consumer’s wallet, and the amount of free time a consumer has to spend on any given subject.

Lets take two goods that have a marginal transaction cost of zero: TV content and Music content.

Over the last five years, the music industry has compained that music content has taken a financial beating. But, the empirical data easily disproves this. In fact, the amount of total expenditures on music related purchases has gone up over the last 6 years (mp3 players, XM/Sirius equipment, live concerts, mp3 downloads, cable music channels, etc…), as has the amount of free time consumers devote to music related experiences (commuting with mp3 players, portable satellite equipment, etc…). So, while one aspect of the music business has flattened, as a whole it has taken “share” of the consumer wallet and time allocation. This is fairly easy data to find and present, and will quiet many detractors.

Conversely, Television has lost both consumer wallet share and time allocation, despite the fact it started with zero cost model (again, this is very easy data to find). The primary difference between these two: The ease in which the consumer can choose the channel and time to purchase and use the product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sure... Thats all good...

But back to the subject of kiddie porn…

If it’s futile for the **AA to fight against the tidal wave of zero distribution costs, then why isn’t it futile for canada (and everyone else, including their ISP) to fight against the (supposed) tidal wave of kiddie porn?

So, based on that, why not try to understand what happens when you have a lack of scarcity and how to profit from it, rather than fighting the obvious trend?

Sorry if that seems “trollish” but I can’t shake the parallel.

Jamie says:

Re: Sure... Thats all good...

I think you got it confused. the zero distribution costs aren’t something the **AA can fight against. They are what is futile to fight against. Furthermore, there is no moral or beneficial reason to fight against them. Fighting against them, will not help the **AA, and will actually hurt them.

What they can fight against is piracy. And they should fight against piracy. No one is arguing that they shouldn’t. But at the same time, they need to understand that the same factors that have made piracy so easy and common, have radically changed the marketplace. The **AA need to change their business models to match the market, or they will fail. they cannot continue to blame piracy for their failing business models.

FH Harris says:

Re: Sure... Thats all good...

Because while they almost do….

The **AA does not have the force of the government behind them. Those fighting kiddie do. Just having it or getting it is enough to get you put away. having a song wont. Also they are logging where a lot of the porn came from… Bust a host and then bust everyone who comes to that host.
The majority want to see the stopping of supposed or real kiddie porn. Not so with music. Kids are being hurt when kp is produced. There is only ecenomic damage (how much?)from dloading music.

Justin (profile) says:

Compensation for services.

Piracy doesn’t happen on the internet. Theft can only happen when someone is deprived of a possession. Copying does not fall into this category as it does not remove the original.

Despite what these industries would have you believe they have never been in the business of selling art. They have always been in the business of selling access to art.

As an artist (musician) I insist on being paid to create art prior to actually creating it (or through a prior contractual agreement, after the work is completed). I get paid once to create it. After that the world uses it as they will. If I wish to continue getting paid for my art then I must continue to produce it.

Plagiarism isn’t piracy. It is a form of identity theft and as such is a completely separate issue.

The simple fact of the matter is that we do not rely on these industries to provide access to art as we once did. The viability of their business model has changed. They need to adapt or die.

The free market makes no guarantees. I do not feel sorry for those who have already amassed vast fortunes nor those little folk who will have to find other jobs. Shit happens.

jackscrow says:

Re: Compensation for services.

You must be a sessions musician (if one at all). You are totally ignoring the existence of “intellectual property”.

The artist has a right to control distribution of the art.

The fact that stealing is becoming easier does not make it right…

You are rationalizing STEALING. And it’s not just information, it is the artist’s work, and in some cases, their livelihood.

If you are a “musician”, as you claim, you know that the “information” on that file you download and copy cost someone thousands of dollars to produce and, more often than not, thousands more to market.

The artist is the supplier and the art is the product, and the artist has the right to control and make money off his/her creation. The idea that you create something, get paid once and move on is idiotic. Even painters have numbered prints.

Increasingly the artist and the distributor are the same, so if you up-load or down-load music files, you are not stealing from some faceless corporation, you are stealing from a musician who very likely maxed out his or her credit trying to maintain control of their product.

The artist or the company that contracts them pays to put the original creation into a format that can be distributed (think about that numbered print). If part of that contract includes royalties, then the distributor has every right to go after thieves.

If you are a musician you would know what a good producer is worth and how much they charge. How much mastering costs, along with Website SEO and Marketing costs.

It’s my property, I set the asking price, I decide how to access it, and if you access it without paying, it is thievery and I have the right to sue you.

Even when you buy a CD and burn 10 copies for your friends, you are stealing.

I don’t blame the record companies for suing on behalf of the artists. In fact, I wouldn’t blame the artist for hunting the offenders down and beating them senseless.

FH Harris says:

Re: Re: Compensation for services.

However the industry is the one that created the perception in its public that music should be available at no cost.

RADIO never cost when we were kids…. and we were allowed by the courts to make copies.

Now the copies are of a quality that dont require us to puchase from the manufacturer to get a near perfect quality. Now they want it to become criminal and wonder why people aren’t going along with that.

CMY says:

What is the actual cost of an unauthorized copy?

The problem I have with mixing piracy and economics has to do with abundance. The perception with the copyright holder is that every unauthorized copy is a loss of sale that results in a financial loss. When in fact many of these copies are made simply because they are available. This does not guarantee that the lack of that copy would have resulted in revenue.

Think of the Video Rental Industry.. If a video rental store buys 10 copies of Movie XYZ the screenwriter gets residuals for those ten copies. If each copy is watched by 100 people that is 1000 views and the screenwriter doesnt recieve anymore money.

If the movie rental industry did not exist how many of those 1000 people would have bought the dvd instead of renting? 100? 10? 5?

So imagine a teenager who has no money. He/She makes a copy of a CD from a friend. While obviously the consumer of the copy recieves a benefit, Does this cause an actual loss to the copyright holder since it would not have generated revenue if it was not available either?

Now if person B is shopping for a CD and finds an alternative source in the process I can see that as an actual loss of revenue.

I understand the stance that piracy contributes to the abundance.
However, at the same time I have to believe abundance contributes to piracy .

Ethan B. (user link) says:

Should've said this FIRST

Mike,

Once again, these points have been great.

When you write your book, or influential “white paper” about this, I think it would be wise for you to LEAD by discussing your persepective [from the producer], etc, before hitting peeps with the hard science. That would be a good way to tamp down all these reactionary, uh, reactions.

saranwrap says:

Interesting Note

Kevin Kelly, dude from Wired, also seems to suggest the same ideas that you are proposing. I haven’t read this particular book though, so its merely a hunch. Please note I am not claiming anything in the sense of being the first to intiatiate an idea; I’m just trying to grasp the issue further with better arguments and data/evidence therein.

The website is…
[http://www.kk.org/newrules/contents.php]

Alex Hagen says:

Missing the point again

I want to put this in a separate post because I don’t want to muddy the main points here. Mike, I don’t want to insult you, because I like your website and I get interesting news and your opinion is frequently dead on. But you seriously need to step back and try and gain back some objectivity on this issue. The reason why some may think that all of this is a smokescreen for defense of piracy is that you have shown very strong, consistent, and frequently overzealous bias against the entertainment industry and IP laws in general. It seems that no pro-IP law is reasonable to you, and no move the entertainment industry makes is ever exempt from your scorn. This is obviously personal with you, and it is clouding your judgment about what is reasonable and what isn’t.

sceptic says:

Re: Missing the point again

Alex, it is obvious that your response is as personal as you claim Mike’s comments are. While I don’t always agree with his conclusions, your representation of his views on entertainment industry and IP laws undermines only your own point of view, since you apparently have not bothered to actually understand any of those posts.

Alex Hagen says:

Missing the point again

Your attempt to categorize this issue purely in economic terms is blinding you to the real points of this. Yes, the marginal cost of another digital copy is basically zero. So, the marginal cost of producing another pill is also basically zero. The marginal cost of making another book is basically zero. So is making a CD, making a copy of a score, copying your web page, and making a billion other things that patents and copyrights have protected over the years.

This is a case where pure economics fails us. It is hardly the first. From a pure economics standpoint, monopolies are more efficient, polluting is much more profitable, and cheaper but more dangerous products are acceptable. We have laws that balance out pure economics to gain some other good that we also consider important. We have laws regarding IP precisely because economics alone can not gain us the outcome we desire, just as we have anti-monopoly, pollution, and product safety laws. We give an unfair (by economic terms) advantage to the creator of something because we want to encourage creation. That is why it is written in the constitution:

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Author and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”

The fact that it is digital now changes absolutely nothing. The same laws apply for the same reasons.

Alex Hagen says:

things that are wrong...are not

“First, that the lack of scarcity is only due to piracy”

Lack of scarcity IS only due to piracy. Content producers have a constitutional right to use their product as they see fit for a limited time, and many use the right to create scarcity to drive up the price of their works. This has worked, more or less, in this country for 200 years. But now there exists a culture that sees breaking these laws as OK, and there is method, called the Internet, that makes people believe that they can do so with impunity. This outlaw culture has forced the content producers to step up the rate at which they use their legal rights to sue those breaking IP laws, but the fundamental ways they do this, and the laws and right involved, have not changed a bit.

“second, that there’s some way to really stop piracy.”

Stop? Probably not. Get under control again? Yes, that’s possible. Allowing John Doe suits based on IP addresses will kill the public brand of piracy that is rampant on P2P and Usenet if done in enough quantity. Content producers have no real choice but to do everything in their power to stop it. The alternative is destruction of the entire copyright system, which would hurt everyone.

Reed says:

Re: things that are wrong...are not

“Lack of scarcity IS only due to piracy.”

I would disagree here. Scarcity simply doesn’t exist in the digital world.

“many use the right to create scarcity to drive up the price of their works”

During the Great Deppression millions of tons of food were dumped in order to try to shore up the commodities market. This of course was happening while many people went hungry, is this really the system you are advocating for?

“But now there exists a culture that sees breaking these laws as OK, and there is method, called the Internet, that makes people believe that they can do so with impunity.”

You sound like some old guy complaining about Rock and Roll. Sure it is different, but hey it is the future so get used to it.

“Get under control again? Yes, that’s possible. Allowing John Doe suits based on IP addresses will kill the public brand of piracy that is rampant on P2P and Usenet if done in enough quantity.”

John Doe suits on IP addresses…. Why don’t we just start searching everyones house and arresting them for anything we find?

Are you really trying to say that the Internet is destroying the way America does business? Is this the same kind of destruction that electricity or the car brought…? If you are advocating protecting the horse whip makers (Media Moguls) and forcing us to use horse drawn carriages (DRM) then I think you are just a little out of touch with wants and needs of the 21st century.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: things that are wrong...are not

Content producers have a constitutional right to use their product as they see fit for a limited time, and many use the right to create scarcity to drive up the price of their works.

I could accept that argument if the length of copyright was never extended and if the DMCA never existed. Content producers have been given a government granted monopoly that most industries can only dream of. Pharmaceutical sink far more into R&D then any member of the RIAA or MPAA spends on development, yet they only get 20 years of protection.

This has worked, more or less, in this country for 200 years.

When the Copyright Act of 1790 was passed, it limited the life of copyright to 14 years plus a renewal of 14 years. Now copyright extends 70 years after the death of the creator of that content. Walt Disney created works that were based on public domain works, however, no one can create a work based on Walt’s movies until 70 years after his death. How does extending copyright 70 years after someone’s death “serve the public interest in promoting the creation and dissemination of new works”? So, no, it has not worked, more or less, in your country for 200 years.

Content producers have no real choice but to do everything in their power to stop it.

They have plenty of choices. They could actually make their content more valuable by adding other features, or bundling it with other content or so on and so on. They actually may have to market their content.

Lack of scarcity IS only due to piracy.

If, the lack of scarcity is only due to piracy, then media companies would be bankrupt and no store would be selling CDs or DVDs – how could they compete with free? Funny thing is that an overwhelming number of people continue to buy their music on CDs and an ever growing number of people are paying for downloads. People see some value in buying content. I think you’ll find many people who ‘pirate’ are forced down that route because of DRM not because it was free.

ben dover says:

Re: things that are wrong...are not

stopping piracy IS impossible (even “getting it under control” is a joke)
how many people have been wrongly sued so far? how many cases has the **AA run from, when, and if the defendants had the financing to fight back? (every one?) Hopefully the end of the Cartels is near… will be a bright day when it happens…
and no media will not stop flowing.. actually it may get better than the current homogenized, commercialized, pasteurized slop spoon fed to the masses by the industries….

William says:

An lession in economics

Two things drive prices.
1) Marginal cost.
2) Scarcity.
With copyrighted material the marginal cast of production is close to zero but because of the copyright the the company that owns it has a virtual monopoly so there only concern is maximizing profit. so the record labels ask themselves what is the highest price we can charge without significantly impacting the number of copies sold.

There are no other legal sources for copyrighted material and therefore record labels can charge whatever they like per CD. They could charge 1000$ per but they wouldn’t sell many records.

Someone said the downloads don’t mean sales lost because not everyone who downloads would have bought the product and that is true but some of them would. Because demand is driven by two forces that are opposing each other.
1) Price.
2) Desire.
If you desire something enough you will pay any price to get it. So if I really want a PS3 this year my only option is to pay a higher price on EBay to get it. And likewise I will not buy every CD that comes out but only the ones that are worth more that 14.99$ to me. But if the price is free and the only cost to me is storage then I would buy much much more music.
It is my firm belief that we will be paying 99 cents per song for a long time so you might as well get used to it. at least you don’t have to by an entire album to get one good song anymore.

P.S. Sorry for being such a downer

William says:

one other thing

You have said time and again that about free content that.

People will figure out business models that embrace it (some have already) and those that continue with artificial scarcity will find themselves in trouble.

But I have yet to see an example that would work in the large scale or be as profitable as the current system. And until such a thing arises the system will not change.

The Dukeman (profile) says:

lucid, multi-faceted diatribe

In reading these posts, I see a fair amount of lucid reasoning in most of them. The failure of any one argument in a series to fully realize itself in no way negates any of the other arguments in the series. As long as the idealogical sparring continues to be fairly mild, the conversation as a whole will eventually allow the ideas behind it to emerge.

Metaphorically, I envision the IDEA to be in the center, like a globe. The participants are viewing this idea with goggles that focus on a tiny part of the globe. As they continue to circle the globe in ever changing speeds and directions, they are each absorbing the data available through the goggles and forming a recreation of the idea in their minds. Eventually the idea will be replicated, if not in its entirety, then at least mostly so.

Please continue. My interest is piqued.

Evostick says:

Cost of Zero - 2 Empirical examples

The online economies (second life, magic swords in fantasy games) are also in a bit of a mess due to the zero replication cost. The fact that the market is virtual is irrelevant. Though I think you may have covered this in previous posts.

What follows may seem off topic, but if keep an open there are parallels.

There is a much more common (in terms of value and of people using them) real life example of Cost of Zero – Financial Derivatives.

Banks set up an agreement between two parties where one will owe the other a prescribed amount of money at a future point in time, dependent on an event happening or not happening.

Value is created. One party holds an asset (which is equivalent to money as it can be traded for cash), the other has to pay the asset holder at some future point.

Creating more derivatives is pretty much zero cost.
The big difference between this example and IP is that there is no content to start with.

(If Financial Derivatives are unfamiliar, then the above could be re-expressed in terms of taking out Insurance and borrowing the Insurance premium from the bank)

M1$t1f says:

I am a Pirate?

I have an old Computer Game. It came on five CDs and I recently dug it out and dusted it off thinking that it might be fun to finally finish it. The license agreement prohibits duplicating the disks. At the time I bought it I didn’t even own a CD writer.

Disk one is bad.

If I am caught downloading an image of disk one I would be considered a pirate. The company that “hosted” the game (put their name on the label) almost acts like it never existed. The people who actually made it are virtually non-existent, and no-one has sold copies of it in years (except maybe on e-bay).

Preventing someone from protecting an investment is insane – whether it is through stern language, laws, or engineering/innovation.

(Warning non apples to apples comparison ahead!!!!!!)

If I want to protect my scratched or dented car I can paint it, I can also replace parts on it and if I really wanted to, and knew how, I could even make the parts myself.

But I am not legally allowed to protect the CDs and DVDs I buy in the manner that protects them best – only using a copy of the original, so if it is damaged I can make a second copy to replace the first, and still protect the original.

The industry wants disks to be impossible to duplicate and easy to damage so they can sell replacements. And when profits are down and they don’t sell that title anymore YOU are out of luck, not them – they made their money, they are happy.

Anyone remember when CDs first appeared? You could buy a drive that used a disk caddy which protected the disk when it was out of the machine because the disk could just stay in the caddy until you wanted to take it out. No dust, no scratches and disks lasted a good long time. Have you seen what rental disks look like these days? I’ve seen scratches, fingerprints, food and even teeth marks. I look at the disks before I leave the store these days.

The rental industry has the money to keep replacing these things, I do not.

And about DRM – HD DVDs were just cracked and the movie industry has a plan. If the keys needed to copy an HD DVD get released they will just disable the keys, then no-one can play the disk (that won’t stop it from being illegally copied). They will change the keys, re-press the disks and if you want to watch the movie you will need to purchase a new disk – too bad, sucks to be you. Hell will freeze three times over before I will take one of these disks as a gift!

So anyway, about that game. I had disk one in a drive that began to spin too fast and seemed to have some way of putting on the breaks to stop the disk from shattering. Whatever it was grabbed the disk at the outer edges, but the disk was full to the edge. I have tried every repair trick/device I have come across, but to no avail.

Anyone know where I could find an image of “Armed and Delirious” disk one (I only need disk one)? And if that question makes me a pirate then I wear the badge proudly!

Dewy (profile) says:

Love this Debate

If any of us are musicians we know the price of recording is plummeting thanks in large part to cheaper and better quality recording gear. A demo recording to get your band into clubs would have cost $2000, but now for $899 you can buy a nice digital recorder and make an infinite supply of 3rd rate recordings.

I’d also like to point out a couple of fundamental flaws I see in this discussion from time to time.

piracy vs scarcity:
Piracy implies someone “lost” something in the transaction. A sale or royalty… or are being denied “control” over the distribution of said works. What we are debating here is the SCARCITY issue… its no longer difficult to distribute large “works” of art… that bottleneck of the market is opening up. This takes us to our next source of confusion…

“Laws”:
There are laws set into place by governments or industries that are often changed, modified, or even struck down for various reasons. these should never be confused with the laws of economics. The Laws of economics are INDEED like the laws of physics… and amoral. If I release a rock above your head the result may have moral implications… but morality has nothing to do with the rocks reaction to gravity.

Mike is sharing with us a fundamental law of economics here… when the cost of distributing something (water) reaches zero, the market changes. Now either business changes with the market… or is left behind as consumers vote with their wallets and pay business models that do.

The only thing I have seen Mike advocate here is that the industry accept and react accordingly these facts. His Argument may be useful to those among us who choose filesharing and need to help others understand that filesharing is NOT thievery… but he is speaking to the industry, not the consumer.

I’d like to once again point out, music was never intended for a bottle… it was never intended as a single use commodity. Music is a gift of the spirit from musician to affeciando… and anything inserted between is vile and insufficient. There is no fee I can pay David Gilmore to compensate the suffering and weathering that was required for him to record Comfortably Numb or distribute that recording.

And yet the industry that “represents” him has shaken me down 3 times for the cost of the cassette and once for the CD. (actually, when I bought the CD they were still enforcing the 12 song limit per CD, and its a double CD set…) Shall I continue to pay for this song every time I play it, and again for every device I choose to play it on? How about my friends, must they purchase a license to listen to it with me, or if I decide to show them the guitar or bass lines?

I’ve seen him in concert twice, and purchased other recordings he has made… but I think I’ve paid them for Comfortably Numb, and they’ve paid him.

Scorpiaux says:

Cost of development and distribution

It is absurd to argue that once a new product is developed, there are almost no further costs. First, whether a new jumbo jet is being prototyped, developed, and then delivered or a new piece of music gets written, gets developed into a marketable piece of work and then the original first copy gets produced, not only those costs but the costs of duplicating, inventorying, and marketing must be taken into account. Those costs are not zero. Not only that, profits may not appear until a substantial portion of the final number made has been successfully sold. That could be weeks, months, or years later. People work hard in the creation of ideas, products, patents, copyrights. Success is not as frequent as failure. Why add to the burden of a creator the prospect that his or her creation(s) will likely provide no financial reward and probably produce a net minus revenue stream by allowing access to content without the recipients paying for it? What happens to incentive then?

I recall watching an interview by an American of a Chinese national software developer in China a few years ago why he didn’t sell his programs on the Chinese market. His answer was simple. Paraphrasing, because as soon as he provided an original for marketing it was quickly copied and sold cheaper than it cost him to make it. The sellers had no development costs, so they could sell cheap something they did not make and since China did not respect intellectual property as property, they were free to copy anything they wanted without penalty. Notice that China has no software development industry. Whatever development is going on is treated as a trade secret or a government secret. There are people here that somehow think this is better? Not I.

Overcast (profile) says:

I don’t blame the record companies for suing on behalf of the artists. In fact, I wouldn’t blame the artist for hunting the offenders down and beating them senseless.

So then – why would an artist even consider putting their own music on the radio for ‘free’ if it’s that detrimental to their profits?

It is zero cost to the consumer, short of buying and powering a device to receive the signal…

They can sue, sue, sue, sue – but I really doubt it will work. If the web becomes draconian and monitors everything – people will trade CD’s. Just like cassettes in the 80’s.

And once again – I will not buy music I have not heard for ‘free’ – 98% of the time.

Bought more CD’s in the last year because I heard it for ‘free’ on Pandora than I have over the last 10 years.

People who are going to steal are going to do it digitally or just take it in the store. I wonder – if physical CD theft has dropped dramatically (you’d almost have to be an idiot to risk stealing one now) – and how that impacts the artist and company as well… interesting angle to think about.

Ferd says:

one other thing

An example?

iTunes/Apple.
They proved you can sell crappy quality music via a horrible program and make a very good profit.

Personally I would never buy from them because of the quality and how DRM limits my freedom to backup MY property and causes a moderate to high chance of losing all the money I have spent when a hard drive fails or an account can’t be accessed.

Why? Convenience.
Non partisan studies show that if a company makes it easy to get content at a reasonable price people will buy rather than pirate it.

There is a business model that works.

It has also been shown that people that pirate content spend more money on average on legal content but that is not germane.

Just imagine if there was a place that people could buy FLAC and whatever Apple lossless music format is or high quality H.264/5 movies for 1/5-1/3 the current price without DRM?

I live outside the US and can’t get music or movies here in any “legal” way except via horribly expensive physical media or streamed via Netflix which does not work very well due to limited bandwidth.

I would happily pay $3-5 for a CD or movie which I could download and watch when I wanted. but I can’t and I see the reason as GREED by the **AA members so I do what I have to.

As an aside I can go to a nice theater for $2.25 but hate the noise, floors, etc.

I can also buy CD’s for .75 and DVD’s for $1.50 but I don’t as I much prefer downloading directly to my PC, phone or tablet.

Why? CONVENIENCE! Get it?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...