Good or Bad? Does music sharing actually increase music sales?
A new study by Industry Canada
and the University College London has found that P2P music is not necessarily damaging CD sales, and is instead, helping it.
While the study admits it was unable to find a direct link between P2P file sharing and CD sales of the population as a whole (in Canada), it does say of those interviewed there is a positive link between them. The research finds that many people download because they want to listen to stuff and check whether it's worth buying. The other main reason was because the downloaded content was not available in their region.
"We estimate that the effect of one additional P2P download per month is to increase music purchasing by 0.44 CDs per year."
the research states.
"Another important finding is that the overall results show that people who purchase paid electronically-delivered music are not less likely to purchase music in traditional markets (CD albums). However, people who also own an MP3 player appear to be less likely to purchase CD albums."
Well, duh. So much for the music industry trying to get us to pay for something more than once.
Naturally because this kind of result doesn't fly with the industy's political agenda, it has been quick to dismiss it. "It's not rocket science to work out that if you get your music for free, why would you go out and buy it,"
states Sabiene Heindl, the General Manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI).
On the subject of music sharing, Wired has also a Threat Level
article on the latest "OiNK Wannabe"
- ironically, all the fuss that has been created over invite-only music sharing website OiNK being taken down has simply created a whole new breed of similar websites to spring up in its place.
P2P has always been a controversial subject, and it seems academic studies and politics rarely mix well, unless it reaffirms your point of view. True, if you're discovering new music from P2P and buy CDs from it, then what's the harm? But that's not to mean it's as good as something legal like Pandora
- however, OiNK style communities are often about the community and music discussion as well - the social aspects of "Web 2.0" are a driving force for many.
But, let's not delude ourselves - if you do download it and it's good quality, why buy it? Owning a CD may be nice, but is a bit of polycarbonate worth a crisp note if you already own the contents?
Let us know your (controversial thoughts) in the forums
. Maybe post from someone else's machine when you do, though...