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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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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:

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