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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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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.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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