Print 36 comment(s) - last by Hare.. on Nov 5 at 12:52 PM

Perhaps the music industry should think twice before alienating some of its highest profile customers

While the independent music industry and small labels are largely thriving, the major label music industry is down on its luck.  Big artists like Jay-Z, Britney Spears, and Metallica just aren't selling as many albums as they used to.  The major labels blame this on pirates.  They have banded behind a thuggish organization by the name of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has tried to strong arm thousands of filesharers into out-of-court settlements typically totaling a couple thousand a piece.

A new study, though, brings the industry's tactics of attacking filesharers into question.  The new study, conducted as an online poll by the research organization Demos had 1008 total respondents between the ages of 16 and 50.

Approximately one in 10 of the people freely admitted to using sites like The Pirate Bay or filesharing utilities to download music illegally.  Ironically, though the pirates appeared to be the most enthused about music and the biggest legitimate buyers of music as well.  Of the pirates 8 out of 10 said they bought CDs, vinyl and as MP3s legally.

The pirates estimated their yearly purchases at £77 ($126) on average, versus a mere £44 for non-pirates ($72).  Thus it appears that the industry's current "collection" tactics may be risking alienating its own biggest customers that  in theory amount to over 16 percent of their total revenue.

The survey also offered other interesting insight into online music use.  Approximately half of those responding said they had accessed music via YouTube.  And almost 22 percent listened to internet radio.  Meanwhile, the study showcased Napster's fall from relevance.  The former P2P giant-turned legit business was only used by 4 percent of those responding, and 21 percent had never heard of it.  Spotify, a streamed peer-to-peer music service with DRM (you can't put files on your MP3 player), on the other hand showed traction, with 9 percent saying they had used it.

The survey indicated more would buy MP3's legally, but that they are currently priced to high.  Approximately 75 percent said they would buy tracks for 45 pence (approximately 73 cents), but that current rates (of a dollar or more) were too high.  This makes sense as many stores like iTunes charge rates on par with their physical equivalents, but without the perks of the physical purchases, such as album art and liner notes (some of this is now being offered -- but only with full album purchases).

The study was conducted from Britain, one of the nations with the most aggressive recording industry.  From allegedly stealing copyrighted music from independent artists to suing people for singing in public, Britain's Performing Rights Society (PRS) has made the RIAA looked downright friendly by comparison.

Britain is considering a law that would terminate pirates from the internet after three filesharing violations.  It would also levy steep fines against them.  The bill is opposed by the liberal and conservative parties, the majority of the public, law enforcement, the tech community, and internet service providers.  However, the ruling center-left Labour Party is firmly behind the music industry in supporting the measure.

Stated a spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, a government organization currently headed by Labour Party appointees, "The scale of unlawful file-sharing poses a real threat to the long-term sustainability of our creative industries.  While surveys asking people about unlawful behaviour should be treated with caution, it's encouraging that the findings signal that the three-pronged approach set out by the Government this week - a mix of education, enforcement and attractive new commercial deals - provides the best way forward for industry and consumers."

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Provide Legal File Sharing
By mmntech on 11/3/2009 8:33:51 AM , Rating: 5
The MPAA's biggest mistake was not jumping on this 10 years ago by providing a legal download delivery service when MP3 players first came out. Instead they fought it, and lost. A lot of people turned to file sharing because they wanted the music but had no way of buying it.

There is money that could be made from legal file sharing options. Charge a monthly fee to use the service. It's not going to go away so you might as well take advantage of it. Of course I think it's been well proven that the suits at RIAA aren't that smart.

I always find it ironic that the "progressive" entertainment industry is so resistant to any changes in the way they do business, even if it benefits them.

RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By samspqr on 11/3/2009 9:21:19 AM , Rating: 5
I would gladly pay $15/month to have unlimited access to all the music in the world, and another $20/month for movies, tv series, etc.

all of that needs to be DRM-free content, but that would put me at $180/year for music and $240/year for movies and tv series, which means that, if I was the average guy from this survey, they could increase their revenue from me by a factor of 2.5x. As it happens, I hate the current model, so I use the free version of Spotify, so I guess they get much less than $20/year from me right now, and the potential revenue increase is more than 9x


RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By invidious on 11/3/2009 10:00:14 AM , Rating: 4
For a monthly fee it would absolutely have DRM on it, and the DRM would expire when you cut off service. Otherwise whats to stop you from just downloading everything you want in the first month and cancelling the service? Then signing back up in a year or two and getting everything that has come out sense then.

DRM has no place in directly purchased media which is why it has garnered such a terrible reputation. But subscription based content like you are saying is exactly the intended market for DRM.

RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By JoshuaBuss on 11/3/2009 10:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, which is why I think netflix is going to take over the world.. they're the only company doing it right.

Pay for unlimited access, everything streams. Eventually, the internet will catch up and you'll have access to a huge library of media from anywhere.. all for one subscription price.

RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By MadAd on 11/3/2009 11:57:06 AM , Rating: 2
I used to do that with the movie channels, my trusty VCR and a pile of tapes...get it a month, tape eeeverything, cancel, watch them for a few months, rinse repeat. No DRM on old VCRs but movies still made a fortune and PPV is as big as it ever used to.

RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By samspqr on 11/3/2009 5:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
I absolutely demand that whatever I pay for is DRM-free. I want to be able to listen to my music on my samsung phone, on my archos mp3 player, on a car with a pioneer stereo, and, especially, at work, where my computer is absolutely locked (won't allow me to install anything, won't allow any weird program to connect to the internet)

I'm too lazy to hop in and out like that. in fact, most people are: it's what all gyms in the world base their business model on

in any case, if they're so worried about that, they could offer DRM-free stuff only for yearly subscriptions. I wouldn't stay one full year without any new music, especially if there's an option to get it DRM-free for $15/month (without that option: yes, I haven't bought any music this century yet, and this Spotify thing is not really old, so that means at least 8 years without giving a damn dime to the recording industry -apart from the odd concert- see? there's lots of room for improvement, they just don't want to get my money)

RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By Hare on 11/5/2009 12:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
Actually no. Nokia Comes With Music phones for example lets you download as much stuff as you want and when your free period is over, you can keep all the songs you downloaded. Look it up if you don't believe it.

It has DRM but it's used only to prevent device to device copies. It doesn't expire.

RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By BruceLeet on 11/3/09, Rating: 0
RE: Provide Legal File Sharing
By Alexstarfire on 11/3/2009 4:00:59 PM , Rating: 1
Cause EVERYTHING isn't available on Hulu. Not only that, but Hulu started out free. Going from free to pay is always going to invoke that kind of a reaction.

By spwrozek on 11/3/2009 8:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
I am wondering who steals music anymore(young adults, teens, old people?)? It is so easy to legally get the songs you want at a good price that there is really no reason. Typically you can get on youtube and see if you like a song (if you don't already know) and then go buy it off amazon for a buck.

RE: Who?
By AWeav09 on 11/3/2009 8:52:40 AM , Rating: 5
Pretty much everyone I know (mostly young adults) downloads music illegally. Sure getting it legally isn't that expensive, but you can't beat free.

Personally, I'll gladly steal any music that comes from a member of the RIAA, but when I find independent music that I like, I go out and buy the CD.

RE: Who?
By Denigrate on 11/3/2009 8:59:03 AM , Rating: 5
I see it more as finding new artists that I haven't listened to before. As a non-mainstream music fan, it's much harder to discover new talent. When I find a band that clicks, I go and buy ALL their albums from Amazon or Rapsody. One thing that is a bit annoying is that many bands that I like have a lot of music that is never released in the USA.

RE: Who?
By Spivonious on 11/3/2009 9:34:19 AM , Rating: 1
And with songs showing up on YouTube now, there's really no reason to download something to see if it's good before buying it.

Personally, I still buy CDs. They just sound better. Now if I could buy lossless tracks at $1 or less then I might reconsider, but there's just something nice about having something physical in your hands. That's why electronic books haven't really caught on, and that's why we still have CDs, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, etc.

RE: Who?
By Denigrate on 11/3/2009 2:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
I still buy physical copies of all the authors I read that don't publish electronic copies, but the VAST majority of my reading over the last couple years was done on a Nokia N770 via downloads of scanned books.

Just wondering...
By bmheiar on 11/3/2009 9:06:20 AM , Rating: 3
When RIAA/MPAA will attempt to disprove, discredit, squash, bury & etc., this study and then file a lawsuit against Demos for conducting & publicizing this study?

RE: Just wondering...
By scrapsma54 on 11/3/2009 9:17:50 AM , Rating: 2
they are just trying to help metallica get that drum set they always wanted.

RE: Just wondering...
By fatedtodie on 11/3/2009 11:01:27 AM , Rating: 1
Why bother to discredit it?

It is 1006 people. How many music listeners/buyers/theives are out there? millions? hundreds of millions? The sample size is too small. When you get dozens of reports like this from multiple different countries with 100,000+ respondants you get a bit closer towards something the RIAA cares about.

Until then I can get 1006 people to say Obama is from Mars with a high enough percentage believing his parents are potato chips.

RE: Just wondering...
By bmheiar on 11/3/2009 11:41:50 AM , Rating: 2
Why bother to discredit it?

Well, plain and simple. It goes against what RIAA/MPAA is saying that is gospel, the truth, & etc., that piracy is costing them money. Yes it is, but not in the vast amounts that they are saying.

Yes, I agree that the sample size is/was way too small for something like this, from my engineering background. But what I was getting at, is that RIAA/MPAA are going after people for the smallest amounts of downloaded/shared songs movies & etc. What was it, like 12 songs or whatever, that one woman left available in her shared folder. Not like she had thousands upon thousands of songs that she was allowing to be available for others to download from her. And then get taken to court and fined so severally that she will be living off the streets and on welfare for the rest of her life. The punishment does not fit the crime. All because RIAA/MPAA believes they are only losing money because of piracy. Not because of themselves. Not because of their actions. They are not causing their own problems and issues.

RE: Just wondering...
By fatedtodie on 11/3/09, Rating: 0
RE: Just wondering...
By rhuarch on 11/3/2009 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 3
Judging from some of the comments on sample size, I'm guessing some of you have never had any formal training in statistics. 1006 is actually a pretty good sample size. You almost never see samples in the sizes you are looking for unless the study is in medical research, and even then 100,000+ is virtually unheard of. What is far more important is how the sample was chose. Researchers have to go to extreme measures to (attempt) to ensure there is no bias in their selection process. The requirements they adopt to ensure this usually means that getting a large sample would be prohibitively expensive.

If the sample is chosen properly 1006 is more than enough to reach the golden 95% confidence that a study requires to be taken seriously.

RE: Just wondering...
By bmheiar on 11/3/2009 4:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, Probability & Statistics was not my strong area while going to college to graduate with a BSEE degree. And I am still having trouble with it today (more of the Probability than the Statistics), on the FE/EIT Exam, which I have just taken my 3rd attempt at 2 weekends ago. I remember the 95% confident interval, sample mean, sample variance, standard deviation, & etc. So yes, u are right that if selected properly, the sample size would be enough.

I was just trying to point out that RIAA/MPAA with their draconian methods, will file lawsuit over the smallest infractions aka 12 songs being shared or one small study proving that they are wrong about filesharers/pirates.

RE: Just wondering...
By Rindis on 11/3/2009 5:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
The problem here is that while 1006 people may be enough to predict the number of people who are self-admitted file-sharers, 100 is not enough to say anything meaningful about the overall purchasing habits of them (remember, of the 1006 only 1 in 10 are part of the population covered by the assertions about relative spending habits).

RE: Just wondering...
By fatedtodie on 11/4/09, Rating: 0
That WAS me...
By SiliconJon on 11/3/2009 9:39:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah yeah, I was a low down dirty thief. I really didn't think of it as stealing. The amount of time and money I put into my music hobby in the days I shared my collection, and took from others' pools, I spent loads of money and time on the computer aspect alone. And I was also quick to buy my favorite bands' CD's so I could rip them to my own quality and preferences, so they received plenty from me as well. Sure, I paid 10% of the so-called "value" I was "supposed" to be paying if going by my MP3 collection size, but I also bought 10X what I would have without the ability to share it, and listened to 50X as much music.

But then the industry said I was a thief, and so did many of you. So I said "fuck you", and quit listening, quit buying, and of course quit sharing & downloading. I'm not letting you clowns call me a thief while I pump vast sums of money into the channels simply because some corporate retards are unwilling to move forward and provide me with a cheaper and lower effort model. Others don't seem to mind so much, but I fealt better taking my money elsewhere, though I do miss the music collecting hobby.

Thank you, now -1 my purse snatchin' ass.

RE: That WAS me...
By JediJeb on 11/3/2009 10:33:06 AM , Rating: 4
I downloaded back 10 years ago when Napster first came out. It was the only way I could replace all the 8-tracks I owned but could no longer play. Most of those artists works were no longer for sale. According to the way the RIAA see it I had already bought the rights to listen to those songs, but would they provide a free upgrade to the new tech to listen to them? No they tell you you purchased the media, and they are no longer responsible for it. So which is it, do you buy the song and media or the rights to listen to it? If it is the rights, then they should continue to provide you the means to listen to the song you bought the rights to, if you buy the song and media then you should have the right to do with it as you wish. The music industry wants to have its cake and eat it too.

RE: That WAS me...
By SiliconJon on 11/3/2009 2:07:09 PM , Rating: 4
What they want is your account to be automatically billed everytime you hear the smallest slice of a works. Only then will they be happy given their recent behavior, but they'll have to get realistic if they want to thrive. Music is art, art is an expression, expressions are shared and enjoyed. There's room for a profit, but what there is not room for is oppression as expression is in high contrast to such behavior.

By cfaalm on 11/3/2009 9:20:25 AM , Rating: 2
If your superact doesn't sell like before it is because money that used to be spend on them is being diverted to other (indy) artists that can now put themselves in the spotlights through internet. This democratised the market.

I used to download to check out a band. That was before I disovered YouTube. I now hardly download anything anymore. If it's good enough, I'll buy the CD.

So I illegaly downloaded a couple of tracks and then decided to buy 2 albums of that artist and then some, now 6 in total. All because of 5 illegal downloads. Doesn't anyone use a calculator at these record companies anymore?

RE: Superacts
By Camikazi on 11/3/2009 9:30:45 AM , Rating: 2
Careful saying you downloaded 5 songs illegally might end up with you being sued for $80,000 per song (illegal download is only part they will see not the rest)!

Online Survey? You mean the
By michal1980 on 11/3/09, Rating: 0
RE: Online Survey? You mean the
By VashHT on 11/3/2009 10:35:31 AM , Rating: 3
Right they're all liars because you think so, awesome logic there.

By Zingam on 11/3/2009 8:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
They buy then share. No-sharing means no-buying!

By ZoZo on 11/3/2009 10:27:49 AM , Rating: 2
I assume that music sharing activity is linked to the enthusiasm for music. Therefore what this study could really show is that music enthusiasts buy more music. It's a big DUH!

Yeah, but...
By PrinceGaz on 11/3/2009 11:46:10 AM , Rating: 2
Just because those who steal music happen to spend more (£77) than those who don't (£44), it doesn't seem to ask how much music these so-called file-sharers stole.

I'd wager that they generally stole a lot more music than they bought, so if you subtract the amount they stole from the amount they bought, they ended up costing the music-industry a lot of money which is why it is right to prosecute them and cut off their internet connection.

(/end twisted MPAA/PRS logic) ;)

Online poll?
By borismkv on 11/3/2009 11:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
Really? These are accurate? When did that start? Not that I'm disagreeing with what they've found, but the methodology and size of the poll The stupid Facebook polls get a much larger sample than this without trying, and those aren't particularly accurate.

RIAA Forum bots?
By StoveMeister on 11/3/2009 11:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
Is it just me?
Or does it seem that recently more and more of these articles are being flooded with comments along the lines of "thieves get their just desserts" or "downloading is theft". Its like the RIAA has a room full of jerks trolling forums to follow the party line. Fact is I don't know anyone in REAL life who supports the luddites who want control of the music like they had in the '50s. Either they sell the rights to the music when they sell the CD or they sell a license to the music, and I have the ability to listen to it when and how I like because I bought that license. NOT both or neither depending on situation.
It strikes me that these are death throes of an outdated institution really.

By Beenthere on 11/3/2009 10:36:33 AM , Rating: 1
In addition to my ocean front property in AZ, I've read that every convicted criminal in prison was framed...

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