Following the broadband money

Music piracy drives legal sales (a bit)

with 4 comments

For light relief I sometimes follow copyright issues, especially music piracy. So it was with great interest I came across this little tidbit from the European Commission’s institute for prospective technological studies.

The good guys there analysed the clickstreams from 16,000 digital music consumers and concluded that a 10% increase in clicks on pirate music download sites leads to a corresponding 0.2% rise in clicks on legal download sites.

Conversely, a 10% increase in clicks on legal streaming websites leads to up to a 0.7% increase in clicks on legal digital purchase websites.  The difference in effect between legal and illegal sources on music sales is basically zero, they found.

“Our results suggest that internet users do not view illegal downloading as a substitute for legal digital music,” say the researchers.

“Our fi ndings indicate that digital music piracy does not displace legal music purchases in digital format. This means that although there is trespassing of private property  rights (copyrights), there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues.”

Bottom line? The Pirate Bay, Megaupload etc were doing the music companies’ marketing for them. For free.

It’s time to repeal the misbegotten Digital Economy Act, and lift the useless court-imposed ISP blocks on content.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2013/03/19 at 22:25

4 Responses

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  1. I bet that won’t feature in music industry policy statements.

    Malcolm Corbett

    2013/03/19 at 23:02

  2. My take on this is that there are some people who will always seek to pay for content because they appreciate that it is someone else’s intellectual property and don’t mind forking out a pound or a fiver for some outstanding tune.

    There are also those who think that piracy is a kind of victimless, anonymous crime, they won’t get caught, and “it’s not really stealing, is it, because the original copy remains”. Doh.

    Eventually, I strongly suspect that the UK government will give the nod to ISPs to basically block all the P2P sites as they see fit. I do not think that the hardcore element of the second group can be “tamed” but this [blocking] is a very dangerous path to tread which in my view is not acceptable.

    I’ve never used the P2P sites mentioned, I do however use YouTube, my favourite (slightly obscure) artist is a “friend”, I get updates, emailed about new tunes, click through, listen to them and then pop over to iTunes to buy them every time.

    Not ‘cos I’m a “good boy” as such though you can hardly chat to your favourite artist, the most outstanding dance composer in the world (just my opinion of course!) and then illegally download their material.

    So my top artist has made money by embracing the “try before you buy” approach and putting her material on YouTube to check out at the risk of having nobody pay for it. After all I could just click the “download this video” link that pops up (Realplayer) and have the **** quality copy for free.

    And ironically, YouTube is not among the list of “pirate sites” despite being crammed with music.


    2013/04/03 at 01:03

    • I saw some research yesterday that suggested the 5% of so-called Internet Guzzlers (i.e. heavy users of P2P for downloads) generates only 5% of the internet traffic. I’ve queried the result, so if anything comes of it, I’ll let you know.


      2013/04/03 at 01:19

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