Latest Research Shows No Noticeable Impact On CD Sales From Downloads
from the oops dept
Papa Fox writes in to point to the latest economics study on the impact of file sharing on CD sales. It's done by two economists, Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Stumpf (rather than the RIAA studies, which are all done by companies hired by the RIAA and whose statistical methodology always has huge holes -- such as counting downloads automatically as "lost sales" or simply getting basic math and economics wrong). This latest study, with help from a bunch of extremely well-known and well-respected economists (including the guy who first taught me economics), found that "downloads have an effect on sales that is statistically indistinguishable from zero." Admittedly it is a difficult thing to work out the direct impact, but they did a few ingenious things to try to account for different variables weighing in on sales and downloads. From the short review of the paper (the full paper isn't available to see), they tried to account for various possibilities by looking at when German schoolkids were on holiday -- assuming that would not impact US sales. It would be nice to see a few more details from the report, but this is just the latest in a series of research coming from academics showing no real impact to sales from downloads -- which is also supported by stories like the success of the Shins' latest album after it was leaked to the internet months before it was released. Of course, we still don't expect the RIAA to accept the idea that downloads act as free promotion -- though it does seem odd that they won't believe actual research that suggests they're wasting an awful lot of effort on things like lawsuits and DRM. You would think that actual data would be more convincing than superstitious beliefs when it comes to how you're wasting your money.