Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Report Suggests Illegal Downloaders Are Also Most Likely to Purchase Music

Research findings in a recent report issued by the BI Norwegian School of Management seem to support the long and widely held belief among P2P file sharers that this group is ten times (that’s right, ten times!) more likely than their non file sharing counterparts to purchase legitimate downloads from services like iTunes.

This finding supports a 2006 report issued by the Canadian Record Industry Association that P2P users do in fact purchase music and are not the primary cause of recently sluggish sales. In fact, all of the research is pointing toward consumer disinterest or dissatisfaction, not illegal downloading, as primary factors.

BI’s Auden Molde was reported by Norwegian’s Music Information Centre to say: “The most surprising finding of this study is that the percentage of legally downloaded music is so high. The results of the study suggest that legal downloads outnumber illegal downloads by a wide margin. We also saw that users stating that they were involved in illegal P2P file sharing were in fact the legal download services' biggest clients.”

So perhaps the P2P file sharing "try before you buy" model is more boom than bust for a music industry that only puts 2 or 3 purchase-worthy tracks on a CD these days. Maybe ... just maybe, the P2P model is picking up the slack and filling in the information gap for consumers because radio stations fall far short by choosing to play (for some strange reason) the same 7 (or is it now 6?) songs every hour on the hour. Case in point: if I hear “Poker Face” one more time, I swear...

- Tonya M. Evans, Assistant Professor of Law and author of Copyright Companion for Writers

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  1. This is not surprising to me at all. I download music constantly and rarely go a single day without downloading something. However, I still buy a good amount of albums when I know it's not garbage because I was able to preview it thanks to the ability to download it.

    Downloading has simply exposed much of the music industry for producing a watered down product. Now, in order to sell, a complete album has to be made ... which just happens to be a rare thing.

  2. Ten times what percent?
    Illegal downloaders are ten times more likely to purchase a song than legal downloaders.....
    So what if the percentage is 0.1%.......
    Illegal downloaders will purchase a song 1% of the time?

  3. Anonymous,

    I think the point of saying "10 times" is that for every 1 song a legal downloader purchases, those who download illegally will have legally purchased 10 songs ...

    This is not real surprising as those who download illegally likely listen to more music. Thus, there is a much larger potential area to buy from based on what they've downloaded whereas those who purchase legally likely do not consume as much music as a whole.

    It's not easy to buy songs legally if you only listen to the radio as it only plays about 10 different songs a day.


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