Study Finds File Sharing Is Good For Music Industry

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!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Paul D says:

    Some friends and I have a WASTE network up. I’ve gotten some great stuff from them. Mostly rare live performances and albums by bands so old and rich that I couldn’t possibly be hurting their bottom-line…

    That said, I’m also a fan of the pay-per-song paradigm of iTunes, where I can download the ONE good song by a band like, say…Fall Out Boy, without having to pay for the whole shitty album.

  2. Mr. Moto says:

    What your missing is that the RIAA doesn’t want you to become a discriminating buyer. It makes it too hard to market to you. They want you to only hear what they can sell to millions of others.

  3. x23 says:

    wait. Fall Out Boy has a single good song? i’m calling BS.

  4. LTS! says:

    I’m waiting for the next bit of RIAA legislation that will call for a monthly tax on all citizens in order to be sure that we are adequately paying for the music we are so “lucky” to hear.

    Perhaps they will throw us a bone and for the $20 monthly tax we will be gifted with a sampler CD of songs they wish to cram down our throats.

    “Yea, the April RIAA’s Best Hits is here. Look, another track from Ashlee Simpson! ROCK!

  5. AcidReign says:

    …..Oh crap, LTS, don’t say things like that!

    …..I’ve still got unused blank cassettes from the mid-80s that I paid the “copying tax” to the RIAA on. Wonder if I’m elgible for a refund?

    …..The thing that galled me most about the tax was that I bought tapes to record 4-track masters of my own stuff, then mix to standard cassette tape to give to friends. I was having to pay a tax to record my own mediocre guitar and cheezy keyboards, for my own use!