The Canadian Record Industry association have done some research and concluded that file sharers are great for business. According to their study, file sharers buy more music than the average customer and try the vast majority of songs they eventually buy.
For most file sharers, this is really no duh research. Anecdotally, I first became serious about music at the point when I began to seriously file share. Years back, a large collection of friends started a WASTE network. This was a private file sharing network of about thirty guys, most of whom had vastly different musical tastes. We each posted a text file in our root directory that pointed out the albums in our collection about which we felt most strongly and the software also allowed to chat with one another, recommending songs or albums to one another in real-time.
It was like a huge dorm room, where everyone got together, talked about music they loved and kept on changing the CDs on the stereo.
More after the jump…
People who are against file sharing would think this sort of set-up would just lead to massive, indiscriminate copyright infringement. And yes, it did. But as we were exposed to more and more music that simply wasn’t played or promoted on the radio, to music from different countries and genres that we’d never listened to before, we all became a lot more passionate about music as well. We wanted to support artists who’d moved us or entertained us or made an impression. Within a year, I was spending ten times, on average, the amount I’d spent on music before I started file sharing, and this figure seemed to be accurate for the rest of the members of our WASTE network. Similarly, when we downloaded music that we didn’t like, we quickly deleted it — we didn’t want to clutter up our collections with music that had failed to make an impact.
Ultimately, file sharing led me to be a more responsible, savvy and sophisticated customer of music. I downloaded and listened to lots of music and therefore I was better capable of supporting the artists I wanted to support and denying sales to musicians who I found to be mediocre. I was no longer forced to buy albums blind.
Of course, while I know many people who have approached file sharing as a method to better educate themselves as customers, it implies a certain degree of customer responsibility that some people don’t have, and which the record companies don’t want us to have. But it’s more prevalent than organizations like the RIAA want you to think, and it’s heartening to see their Canadian analogue confirm it: file sharers are the real music lovers of the 21st century.
CRIA’s Own Study Counters P2P Claims [Michael Geist] (Thanks, Boing Boing!)