Monday, 28 May 2012

Piracy boosts music sales?

Piracy =/= stealing. Learn the difference
I recently came across an article online that argues that file sharing (in this case, file sharing using bit torrent as a medium) actually provides a boost for music sales. The author of this piece is actually an economist, a Mr Robert Hammond, who collected data about music downloaded and analysed this in regard to actual sales and found that it actually helped to sell more copies.

The arguments for this, at least in my mind, would be that potential fans have the chance to try out your music first rather than pay for it outright before hearing it. It would give the chance for people to judge it on its own merits, with no price tag to sour the deal if it really wasn't your cup of tea.  Furthermore, your name and music would be spread further when people have the chance to sample it in full; I certainly don't think I would object to this. A bigger fanbase to talk about it means more people going to gigs and live shows, which does draw in more money anyway.

This wouldn't be the first time that Big Media would have you believe that stealing would kill off the media industry. Remember when radio would kill live performances? Or when home taping would kill the music industry? Or VHS would kill television? Big Media simply needs to roll with the punches and adapt to these changing mediums, as like it or not, they are here and end consumers are embracing them. Adapt or die, guys; in a capitalist society it's economic Darwinism at its finest.

But it's not all doom and gloom, as people will still buy media content, be it music, films, TV shows or whatever, if the price and convenience of doing so is satisfactory. Embedded DRM, slow release schedules (especially for TV shows) and high prices all put people off going down the legitimate route. Make things fair, especially making sure that the artist gets a decent cut for their work (otherwise there's always online distribution to circumvent established labels), and everyone will be happy.

Of course, I still like to support musicians; I just buy less music and enjoy other free sources, such as podcasts.

For the original article: