Print 27 comment(s) - last by ghost49x.. on Mar 26 at 8:38 AM

Study also finds streaming music doesn't cannibalize traditional sales

The EU's copyright commissioner, Maria Martin-Prat, was formerly a lawyer for the at International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the parent organization of the U.S.'s RIAA, Canada's CRIA, and Britain's BPI.  She once argued [PDF] that backups have "no reason to exist", and for years vigorously argued that piracy was killing traditional sales.  But ironically her own peers in the EU have just announced that government-funded research proved her and the IFPI wrong; traditional music sales don't suffer from piracy.

I. Pirates Download More Legal Music

The study was conducted using data on more than 16,000 European Union internet users.  Researchers at The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies -- a part of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre -- examined what the affect on a user's behavior by first removing the correlation of level interest in music, then comparing subjects with similar expressed level of interest in music who pirate, versus those who did not.

The results were intriguing.  The researchers write, "It seems that the majority of the music that is consumed illegally by the individuals in our sample would not have been purchased if illegal downloading websites were not available to them.  If this estimate is given a causal interpretation, it means that clicks on legal purchase websites would have been 2 percent lower in the absence of illegal downloading websites."
JRC79605 by torrentfreak

Legal streaming websites -- which the music industry has often attacked -- were found to have a "somewhat larger" complementary affect, increasing clicks on legal sites by 7 percent -- according to the correlation.

II. No Evidence Piracy is killing Music

The researchers say it is puzzling why the music industry is so obsessed with pursuing pirate punishments.  While they declined to make any specific policy recommendations, they conclude:

Taken at face value, our findings 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, there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues.
From that perspective, our findings suggest that digital music piracy should not be viewed as a growing concern for copyright holders in the digital era. In addition, our results indicate that new music consumption channels such as online streaming positively affect copyrights owners.

South Park
It appears piracy really is "not a big deal". [Image Source: South Park Studios]

Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but it appears that even the poorly evidenced claim that piracy is correlated to lower sales is thoroughly wrong.  Further, this is not the first work to show that.  A 2009 study by the UK government found filesharers to spent, on average, £77 ($126), versus a mere £44 for non-pirates ($72).  So much for piracy "killing music", eh?

Source: Scribd via TorrentFreak

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Video Games
By Crazyeyeskillah on 3/20/2013 3:33:29 PM , Rating: 3
I'd like to see a similar study based on videogames. Unfortunately the experience of pirated games often eclipses that of painful DRM crippling measures that turn off real customers in large droves. No intros, no verifications, and instant-on, instant-in gameplay makes pirating a better experience often.

Besides, games like crysis 3 that have a rediculously short single player campaign have almost no replayability really leave early adopters feeling ripped off and less likely to buy again from that company/ip. I got it for free with a bundle so i'm not raging, but still feel that even at free i was somewhat taken by Yerli this time around. Also, the multiplayer is a lot less fun than crysis 2 was imo. Fun is the final deciding factor in weather or not I've gotten my monies worth in a game and crysis 3 fell way short. We'll see what bioshock infinite does as my other free game to make up for the lame and utterly repetetive void of story game that crysis 3 was.

Also, games that require a unique verifiable multiplayer account essentially do away with piracy almost 100%, so make a good multiplayer experience and I'll pay everytime.

RE: Video Games
By Freakie on 3/20/2013 5:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I always encourage people to buy videos if they don't buy nothing else. I would agree that piracy does not have any good effect on gaming for reasons like only wanting to play a game once versus wanting to play a song many times, and the high entry price for games. I know those are arguments to not "waste" your money but right now we aren't exactly encouraging the gaming industry to change for the better. I buy plenty of games used on ebay myself, which I hope helps to encourage the people that I buy from to buy more games, or I buy when the price has dropped a minimum of 50%, which I admit is being "cheap" in light of my statement of trying to encourage actual purchases, but I think a purchase of any kind is better than nothing. I will also admit to "downloading" two games, but they were games that I already had on my Xbox that I wanted to replay on my PC after a few years :P

RE: Video Games
By TSS on 3/21/2013 5:57:29 AM , Rating: 5
Take it from somebody who's been a videogamer all his life - wether a study or not is done will not impact DRM in games. Even this whole Simcity debacle will not impact DRM in games.

Because if EA, activision etc where to remove DRM, they would admit piracy isn't a issue. Then, if their games don't sell, they have to admit they're making bad games because they're not being pirated.

The games these days are bad. Objectively bad. As in, they've got broken mechanics because publishers have forced developers to focus on monetairy gains for so long, they've forgotten how to make a proper game. Want a blatant example? Skyrim. No limit to the mana cost decrease enchants. Result? level 42/84, no mana cost for all destruction spells even duel cast master ones. At the same level i had dual enchanting, so along with those unlimited spam spells i also could kill a elder dragon, the strongest enemy in the game outside of the main boss, in 3 shots. Why all of this? So that the game would be easy and it would sell to alot of people who don't have a clue about how to play game - but can draw a wallet none the less.

But because there's also a management culture with the publishers, they cannot admit failure. Case in point would here be Earth and Beyond, westwood's MMO that died soley because EA refused to do a rollback after a bad patch. Because a rollback would be admitting failure and EA management does not admit failure. Even the leaving of the CEO isn't admitting failure as it's the board of directors that should've been fired - now they will just find another puppet for their greedy desires.

As long as they continue to have a management culture they will have a continuous need for a scapegoat to blame their stupidity on. And other then piracy, there isn't a single thing that can't be traced back to being their fault.

The sollution? STOP GIVING EA/ACTIVISION/UBISOFT MONEY. Control your goddamn childish impatience and give up what you want now for what you could have later for once.

But considering the android playstore has a list called "top grossing", and it's filled with games that are all pay to win.... i fear the worst for our gaming future.

RE: Video Games
By HolgerDK on 3/21/2013 6:17:05 AM , Rating: 2
Im not religious, but fucking amen to your post.

RE: Video Games
By Strunf on 3/21/2013 8:32:39 AM , Rating: 2
Most games aren't bad they are just made to appeal the most and not the few, Skyrim is the perfect example if you raise the difficulty level and make it more technical then a HUGE deal of people will not enjoy it and of curse not buy it, game companies are here to make money, they don't want to sell just a few dozens of copies but millions.

Besides Skyrim is one of the few games that actually supports MODs...

What I agree with you is that this quest for money is sometimes going to far with 1/2 finished games that only become complete when you pay all those DLC, I play BF3 and it was disgusting that there were payable DLCs since day 1.

RE: Video Games
By Reclaimer77 on 3/21/2013 8:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
Meah rose colored glasses.

I've been a gamer all my life too, which might be longer than you. Because a lot of gamers today don't seem to recall the horrid, and I mean HORRIBLE, copy protection schemes of yesteryear. Like requiring a disk to play it even if the game itself was completely on your hard drive. Or only being able to install the game once, and only play it from that computer. I could go on and on.

Today I can buy a game, install it as many times as I want. I can even log in and play it from a friends computer or another location, it doesn't matter, everything is online! The convenience available to us just blows my mind how many people don't seem to understand how bad things used to be!! Wtf?

Complaining that games require an Internet connection? At this point the Internet is no different than electricity or running water. It's essential, and you should have access to it 24/7. If you don't have it, something is horribly wrong. Hell even the phones in our pockets have Internet at all times.

Now you're on your soapbox, and people are cheering because it sounds great. Down with the corporations bla bla, making games completely free etc etc. But they don't know. They don't remember or weren't around when gaming wasn't this Mecca of freedom you're illustrating. There were - sometimes - soul crushing protection schemes to deal with. Seriously they really did go too far!

Yes, SimCity was a disaster. But not because of the DRM, but because they completely screwed up the server-side implementation of it.

RE: Video Games
By Motoman on 3/25/2013 4:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
DRM is like the government stance on marijuana. It's an absolute farce, perpetuated primarily by the fact that they'd lose face if they ever admitted the entire thing was BS from the start.

Publishers can give out install codes if they want...require the disk in the drive if they want...fine. Neither of those is a big deal. But more invasive DRM measures are are limitations to the number of times you can install a game you bought, or requiring internet access for a game that categorically isn't an online game - like SimCity.

Not to mention the fact that roughly 1 in 5 Americans lives in a rural area, where there frequently just isn't any such thing as broadband internet. Publishers are tossing aside a potential 20% of their profits by forgetting that simple fact. Which is a problem for Steam too...and any other streaming/download-only services.

As for your notes about Skyrim - haven't played that, so I can't comment...but I watched that happen on World of Warcraft. Years ago you had to be pretty good with your character, and pay attention to a number of things in order to fulfill your role well. Then as time went by Blizzard slowly dumbed the game down, to where it's a Fisher-Price kind of thing now where any idiot who can mash buttons can be top DPS. Which is one reason why I stopped playing the game. The other reason being that I just don't have time to play games much anymore, and couldn't justify the $15 a month fee, when many months would go by and I didn't even log on. Star Trek Online, DC Universe, DDO, Age of Conan, LOTRO, etc. are all free, just as fun if not moreso than WoW, and I don't waste money when a month goes by and I didn't have time to play them.

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with your exhortation to stop giving these publishers money. Ubisoft is a horrific offender, with their retarded uPlay thing. When I paid money for 2 copies of Heroes VI - one for myself, and one for my cousin as a gift - we're both lifelong hardcore HoMM fans, I was mystified as to why I couldn't play my new game. uPlay, a "utility" that comes with all Ubisoft titles, has to do various things on the internet to let you into your game. The first time, anyway...after which they generously allow you to play your offline know, offline.

The problem being that their uPlay thing is apparently broken with regards to cellular wifi internet. It won't register/update/whatever correctly from the start if you have wifi. "Oh, you know, all kinds of games and programs have problems with cellular wifi..." they will tell you. To which I replied "bullsh1t." Here's a list of all the games I have that require online access that don't have "problems" with wifi:

WoW, LOTRO, DDO, Star Trek, Age of Conan, DC Universe, Diablo III

...and I've downloaded/installed EVE Online and others over wifi as well without issue. And all of that to say nothing about the Cisco VPN and all the remote work I do, all day long, using various applications...none of which *ever* has had a "problem" with wifi.

But uPlay from Ubisoft? I literally had to disassemble my rig, take it to a friend's house where they had DSL, and let uPlay take the 1.5 seconds it needed to decide that it was OK to let me play my game. Then I brought my rig back home, and now I can play Heroes VI.

...except that I haven't. I went through so much BS with Ubisoft trying to get it to work in the first place, dealing with their absolutely braindead BS about "lots of things have problems with wifi" etc., that the entire game franchise is dead to me now. Ubisoft stole my joy. Oh, and that copy I bought for my cousin? Still here on my desk...after seeing what I went through, he wants no part of it.

So f%ck you Ubisoft. You go to hell. You go to hell and die. And I can guaran-damn-tee you that you are NEVER getting another dollar from me.

RE: Video Games
By ghost49x on 3/26/2013 8:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
This is why I've been increasingly looking towards the indie game industry for true innovation and good games. Granted there are still a lot of bad indie games out there but at least it's not due to the same publishers that have been causing us grief over the years.

Also see the kickstarter initiative that has allowed people like you or me to help support game ideas that we would be interested in. We can even get special benefits out of depending on how much you pledge!

By Denigrate on 3/20/2013 5:09:20 PM , Rating: 2
People who care enough to find and download music, legal/illegal, are likely passionate about music and want to support artists who make music they like. So they might download an mp3/FLAC to try out the music, but then go buy that artists entire collection. Thanks to Pandora, I find new music via streaming internet radio, and then go buy the stuff I really like.

RE: Music
By othercents on 3/21/2013 8:20:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think the issue becomes when the line between legal and illegal becomes blurred. It is possible if illegal downloading becomes the norm then people will slowly over time quit buying music and just download.

However other avenues like streaming services are actually beneficial for the music sales. They get new music out where people can here it. They work just like radio stations without all the overhead. The recording industry should be giving more avenues for people to sample music and mechanisms to purchase that music on demand.


RE: Music
By ritualm on 3/21/2013 3:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Illegal downloading" is the wrong way of categorizing user behavior on music. It really should be "music sharing". It's illegal only because people aren't paying to get it. Here, again, the problem is who defines what is illegal? The RIAA themselves.

These are the same guys who imposed MAP pricing on physical album sales, and who still assumes all of us as criminals rather than customers. These guys want the laws of the land changed specifically to punish us the moment we share a music clip through a method not explicitly endorsed by them. It took them an eternity to accept digital music distribution as an alternate way of selling music to the masses.

Their actions over the past 10-15 years - DRM, rootkits, outrageous "damages" per song, C&D notices, and variations of SOPA/PIPA - have killed off whatever appetite I had left of North American music in general. If the artists are in any way remotely affiliated with RIAA, they're not getting my money, full stop.

These days I listen to foreign "programmed music" and electronica; I simply refuse to give my money to an organization that wants all of us locked behind bars.

Bunk Study
By artemicion on 3/20/2013 5:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
It is important to note that we are only able to observe the number of clicks on a given website and that we do not have a precise description of the individual behavior for each click. Rather than measuring actual consumption or purchases, our data therefore gives a measure of the propensityto consume music. We believe, however, that this is still a good approximation to actual consump-tion. We see no speci?c reason for which an individual would go on a music-consumption website with other purposes than to consume music.

This is laughably poor reasoning. I'm sure tons of pirates use iTunes, Amazon, Youtube, etc. to find the music that they like or to find the name of a particular song and artist and therefore generate a substantial number of clicks at "legal" websites without actually making any legal purchases.

RE: Bunk Study
By Strunf on 3/21/2013 8:39:23 AM , Rating: 2
Illegal (and to some extent even legal) downloads are more of an impulse than a reflected choice, I doubt that many pirates would go to those websites to find the music to pirate, most hear the music on TV or the radio and then download it.

They forget who needs who
By BifurcatedBoat on 3/20/2013 9:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
Content creators need content consumers. Content consumers don't really need the content creators. If someone doesn't listen to your song, doesn't play your game, watch your movie, read your book, they'll be just fine.

Usually, someone who wants to do things the legal way when they would have otherwise considered piracy is just going to opt to not consume the media at all.

On the surface, that might seem to be no different as far as the content creator is concerned, so who cares - let them go without since they wouldn't pay. But oftentimes, someone's experience with content leads to purchasing related content down the line. Sure, you'd prefer an upfront sale if possible, but I have long believed - and the results of this study seem to confirm - that piracy actually has a marginal beneficial effect rather than the opposite.

Now it might be different if they outright legalized it, and people didn't feel guilty about not paying. But I think on some level people do understand that purchases are what make the difference in terms of what types of media will continue to get produced, and do want to support artists and brands who are giving them things that they enjoy.

By MRsnufalufagus on 3/20/2013 7:01:06 PM , Rating: 1
research is not fact. it is an assertion, and can only be validated by third party result duplication. if research results were automatically categorized as fact, then it would be true that smoking does not cause cancer.

thanks for buying your music.

By Magnus909 on 3/20/2013 6:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
Most pirated music made in the USA?
Where do you get that from.
Any numbers?
There are a lot of great artists and bands outside the USA that are being copied all the time.
You do know that 7 out of the 10 biggest selling artists/bands in history comes from outside of the United States?
You know, small bands and artists like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, PInk Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Celine Dion and the likes.

And more recently the big, big explosion of electronic dance music that is totally dominated by Europe?

By Magnus909 on 3/20/2013 6:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
I meant 7 out of 12.

By MRsnufalufagus on 3/20/2013 6:55:40 PM , Rating: 1
10 out of 10 of those artists are on labels with world headquarters in the USA.

according to this, 88% of the industry is controlled by the US:

Made is probably a broad word, but financed, definitely. BTW, i'm not shitting on international musicians, its just that most of them migrate to the US, usually to NY, to make their careers. I've worked with a lot of producers from Germany, Russia, Israel, Switzerland and Japan. Much like Russia has become the hub of space travel, the US has become the hub of music industry trade. EU is a huge part of raising the people who make music, but their government doesn't have much of a stake in protecting the industry.

By Magnus909 on 3/20/2013 9:06:07 PM , Rating: 2
That is a different thing.
I was more focusing on where the artists/bands came from and what you said in you first post sounded like it was american artists all the way.

Yeah, unfortunatelly there has been a lot of mergers where a lot of smaller labels have been bought up and now there are just a few left.

But at the same time some artists choose to be independent and start their own labels.

In Sweden (where I live) that was the case with Robyn, she has had two Billboard top 10;s in the US and a UK nr 1 and has her own label.
So these days it shouldn't be a requistite to be signed to the big greedy labels.

By MRsnufalufagus on 3/21/2013 2:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
robyn is amazing in many ways.

i've had enough financial squabbles with a major label that if anyone can call them greedy, it is me. but David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven has a somewhat lengthy explanation as to why they are less greedy than companies that have come along to displace them. worth the read:

By rpsgc on 3/20/2013 7:24:46 PM , Rating: 1
You mean you're going to file their RESEARCH next to your opinions?

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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