Heavy illegal downloaders buy more music

A new British independent poll conducted by Ipsos Mori concluded that the people who do the most illegal downloading also buy the most music. This is in line with many other studies elsewhere and is easy to understand: people who are music superfans do more of everything to do with music: they see more live shows, listen to more radio, buy more CDs, buy more botlegs of live shows, buy more t-shirts, talk about music more, do more downloading -- all of it.

And of course, these are the people the music industry's supergeniuses have set their sights upon for bizarre enforcement regimes like the one that British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has promised: anyone who lives in a house that generates three or more copyright infringement notices will be barred from Internet access.

"The latest approach from the Government will not help prop up an ailing music industry. Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed, and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access," said Peter Bradwell, from the think-tank Demos, which commissioned the new poll conducted by Ipsos Mori.

However, music industry figures insist the figures offer a skewed picture. The poll suggested the Government's plan to disconnect illegal downloaders if they ignore official warning letters could deter people from internet piracy, with 61 per cent of illegal downloaders surveyed admitting they would be put off downloading music illegally by the threat of having their internet service cut off for a month.

"The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music," said Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research. "They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism. We have a generation of young people who don't have any concept of music as a paid-for commodity," he continued. "You need to have it at a price point you won't notice."

Illegal downloaders 'spend the most on music', says poll (Thanks, Libbi!)


  1. I think the affair of Dr Nutt illustrates the British governments opinion of evidence and science.

    How long before whoever commisioned this poll loses their job for letting the cat out of the bag?

    Either that, or some NuLabour .ssh.t will stand up and say something like “better safe than sorry: we’ve got to protect the record companies’ obscene profits for the sake of the children”.

  2. I’m a U.S. citizen, going to school in Australia. For the last few years I would log onto amazon.com, use my U.S. credit card with a U.S. billing address to buy and download music. Recently, I’ve been getting a message saying I can no longer do that – music downloads are not available to people outside the U.S.

    I wrote to amazon.com. You mean, I want to BUY this music, and you’re telling me I can’t?

    I can’t get it here in Australia, either. So my only choice is to spend 2x on a physical CD, which I don’t want because a) optical media is prone to scratching and b) it takes up room in my house, room that I don’t have.

    So, the record industry says, ‘Don’t steal our music,’ then turns around and says, ‘But we won’t sell it to you.’

    Not saying it justifies piracy, but, well, wow! What a fantastic business model, hey.

    1. You can get round that by buying a US dollar iTunes gift card on eBay. (They just send you the number) and using that to buy the music. The block is attached to your (presumably Australian) credit card. I use this to get music not available in my resident country. Works a treat. You ay need to start up a new account though using a different identity and maybe a relative’s US address.

  3. ive been reading this sort of thing for as long as ive been stealing things from the internet and quite frankly ive never understood it.

    ive not once met a single person (online or in real life) that downloads a lot (music, games, movies etc) and then buys the goods later on. And to be honest im not surprised, why buy the cow if you can steal the milk and get away with it?

    1. Apparently you’ve never met me, Hawley, or most of the people I know who download music.
      I lived a very narrow rock-centric life before I got on the internet in the mid 90s. Then I discovered a whole new world and genres that I didn’t even know existed. The more I downloaded and enjoyed, the more I bought because I want to support those artists so they make more of the music I’ve come to love.
      Do I buy every album that I’ve downloaded? No. Would I have bought even a tiny percentage of the CDs in my collection without having heard them first? Absolutely not. Nor would I have attended the shows, bought the t-shirts, etc.

    2. I download-and then I see the band, I buy their stuff at the shows, I buy the records (when I can find them). Just as I did 15 years ago when I was tape trading through the mail.

      Not everyone just steals. There are lots of us who actually want to support the artists we like.

    3. Hawley.. nice trolling.. which bridge do you live under?

      Since you’ve never met someone who “downloads a lot and then buys the goods later on”, allow me to introduce myself. I’ve done this plenty of times, and I continue to do so because I believe it’s the right thing to do. I’ve paid money to the creators of movies, music, video games and artwork that I could have kept for myself.. but I paid it anyway.

      As Otterson (#4) pointed out, artists deserve compensation for their work. Granted I pick and choose which artists I am going to support, but I DO support those artists.. because without artist support there’s no positive feedback to encourage more art. I’ve been involved in a software project that was helped greatly by end-user donations; being on the receiving end is just as rewarding as being on the giving end.

      “why buy the cow if you can steal the milk and get away with it?” Because -somebody- has to feed the cow, that’s why.

      1. “Hawley.. nice trolling.. which bridge do you live under?”

        no trolling this time, and i do not live under a bridge, do you?

        perhaps you do buy the things you steal online, but you are in minority group im sure, i honestly haven’t met anyone (well until now i guess) that buys the things they download from the internet.

        after all why should most people buy their music afterwards? they are getting high quality merchandise online for free, and buying them afterward wont increase the quality of the product or make me any happier when using said product. the only thing that happens is that their wallets lose some weight.

        personally im glad that there are people like cory whom are willing to spend great deal of time and effort to protect my rights to “share” and use “homebrew”, more money in my pocket and i get everything i want for free. and i pretty damn sure im not the only person in the world that thinks like this.

        1. No Hawley, you aren’t the only person in the world like this. But regardless of what the RIAA, GEMA and their like assumes, you are part of the minority. It’s not even possible to say that you are their opposite, though, since it’s takes a thief’s mindset to assume that most everybody would steal if they could get away with it.

          And, of course, unchecked greed to think that every unpaid download equals a missed sale. Yep, there are probably plenty of people who download stuff and use it, belying their tales of “just trying it out”. But there’s really no rational reason to go after them, apart from a nagging feeling of unfairness that they consume something that oneself paid for.

    4. *raises hand* I do, actually. I’d say about 35% of the music I’ve bought in the last couple years has been something I had already for ‘free’. If I don’t like it enough to pay the dollar for it, or whatever, I generally end up deleting it. Unless it’s something I can’t find a legitimate way to get.

    5. I’ve been downloading music from the Internet since 1998 (my first year in college). Prior to that, I owned maybe two dozen CDs (though my family has a large music collection). I now have about a terabyte of music and I also own about 500 CDs (almost all purchased used). I already had unauthorized copies of some music by well over half of the bands I’ve spent money on (CDs or concerts) because that’s the main way I learn about bands.

      Why do I spend money buying albums rather than downloading *everything* for free? First, my free time and bandwidth aren’t nearly as large as they were in college, so spending $100 at a used record store once a month is a more effective use of my resources than being on a constant music hunt. Second, I don’t go in to the store knowing what I’m looking for. I’ll see a CD and say “Hey, I like the other stuff they’ve done, I’ll check this out,” even if it’s not catchy enough to say “Damn, I need to find more of these guys’ stuff RIGHT NOW.”

      Plus, when I dropped my hard drive on the floor, I was relieved to know that (a) My brother and my ex have a backup of most of the downloaded stuff on there and (b) I’ve still got physical copies of all the music I ripped.

    6. Well you’ve yet to meet me. I download to listen to music before buying. I don’t have a time to just sit at my computer to stream an album and I like to listen to an album a few times before I decided whether it’s worth buying. If it is, I buy it. if it’s not, I get rid of it. Why would i keep something I’m not going to listen to anyway? And I know a lot of people who feel the same way. Even bands I usually love tend to put out some music I don’t like. I don’t buy anything before listening anymore.

  4. The model has changed. The music business will live on, but the record company business is over. Their business model has gone the way of buggy whip manufacturers. Nobody needs them any more!

    Trent Reznor and to some degree Radiohead has figured this out… I firmly believe that artists deserve compensation for their work, but the vultures of the record industry can starve.

    (Yes, I am still buying CDs. But I do so look forward to the day when I can buy all my music right from the source.)


  5. Even Mr. Mulligan doesn’t quite get it, when he says things like “We have a generation of young people who don’t have any concept of music as a paid-for commodity”. It still presents the Net Generation as somehow LACKING, somehow qualitatively DIFFERENT in their ethos than those who came before.

    My generation and my father’s generation didn’t think of music as a “paid-for commodity”, either. All you needed was a radio. If you had a good-quality stereo with a tape deck, and a station with a reliable request line, poof! It was yours. The Net improved the quality, reliability, selection and simplicity of the process, but that’s it.

    And who went to that kind of trouble in the Eight-Track era?

    People who really loved music, and also bought a lot of it.

    Free music and free downloads, like free radio, are primarily “discovery tools”, and always have been. They’re the best advertising any musician could ask for.

    When Napster first arrived on the scene in the ’90s, I said, “this is the 21st century version of radio.” When the record companies freaked out about it, and about MP3.com, it wasn’t because of THEIR products getting distributed for free, no matter what they said. It was because independent bands without big label contracts were getting just as much exposure as the indentured servants that the labels had put so much marketing machinery behind. People were getting music that wasn’t being vetted by the Priests of the Temple of Syrinx.

    THAT’S the big threat to the music industry, and all this talk about “piracy” is just smoke and mirrors.

  6. That sounds about right to me. Two of my friends and I buy a lot of music, and go to a lot of concerts (it averages out to about one concert a week). In all of our cases we illegally download music fairly often in order to check new bands out, or listen to things that are impossible to buy.

    I have also noticed that those who offer their work for free (Radiohead, Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, etc) are more likely to convince me to buy their stuff.

  7. It makes perfect sense if you think about it.

    The internet threatens the Copyright Cartel’s stranglehold on distribution.

    The threat it represents to them is twofold: music fans downloading and cutting them out of the loop (even if it isn’t a case of 1:1 download:lost-sale or that people who download ONLY download and don’t EVER buy) but also there’s the threat of musicians setting up their own collective/co-operative for alternative distribution via the internet.

    If you cut people off the internet for a few unproven allegations of copyright infringement, you force them to go the only other route if they still want recorded music: retail distribution.

    Doing this, in the minds of the Cartels, would seem to solve the problem of (the temerity of) copyright infringement AND any threat from a pesky independent music distribution channel. They claw back their position of control.

    The Cartels are quite prepared to sacrifice some income from internet music/video shopping (eg. Amazon) or downloads (eg. iTunes) and the like, along with people’s ability to communicate with friends and family, engage in political discourse, have access to literature, eductaion and information and have a voice ( blogs etc) in order to crush the threat to their power.

    They wish the internet had never been invented; are implacibly opposed to it. Where they cannot destroy it they will hobble it. They will always act like this because they’re stuck in the past; they will resist change because they’re comfortable with how things were and do not want to move on.

    The writing is on the wall: their days are numbered – but they’re in denial.

  8. “They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism.”


    I spend roughly a third of my income on music — mostly live shows, but a good deal of paid-for downloads and now and then the odd CD — and I can guarantee that not one of these bands (and by extension their labels) would see a cent of my money if I (or one of my friends) wasn’t able to find music I like for free on the internet.

  9. I’ve been thinking hard about downloading the Beatles Remaster mono box. The discs aren’t available individually and I don’t think I can wait till Christmas to hear.

    I’m not trying to rip the Beatles off, they just aren’t selling at my price point. I can download and listen now, save and purchase later.

  10. If all the music I’m exposed to is the top 40 or so artists the recording industry is trying desperately to sell me, I’m not buying, well, any music.

    I KNOW there’s some great music out there, but I also know I’m probably going to like some of it. At $12-17 for a new CD which I’m lucky to have heard one track, thats going out on a limb. And frequently thats one ‘single’ track sounds nothing like the rest of the album. It doesn’t take too many burnt fingers to reject the blind purchasing of CDs in hopes of finding something which you can connect with.

    So the question is, if the record industry only wants to pay the radio stations to play the ‘hits’, where else is one supposed to discover artists except for ‘stealing’?

    We’re fortunate here in Minneapolis to have a terrific public radio new music station that does play some independent and local music. Without which I would have almost no exposure to a rediculous number of artists. Before it came along, I did download a lot of music. And I also did purchase a lot of CDs which I already ‘stole’.

    It’s not coincidence since Napster went down (the real pirate Napster I mean) record sales have declined significantly. They killed off their greatest promotional tool!

  11. This was my experience for a couple years- I used downloading to discover new music, then went out and bought the CDs I heard online. I also shared dozens of my own songs, with permission to share and links to my website in the ID3 tags.

    Then Napster got shut down. About the same time, one of the best bands in New England signed a record contract and got royally assfucked into bankruptcy. I’m proud to say I have not given the major labels one red cent since then.

    I still download, and I still buy CDs (and T-shirts and other stuff), but only when I can hand my money to the person who’s actually playing on the album. As a general rule of thumb, it’s worked out quite well, and as one of those artists that the RIAA claims to be protecting, I can assure you: They do not speak for me, they do not have artists’ best interest in mind, and you are welcome to download and share my material at will.

    Oh, and Hawley- I know it’s your job, but if you want to keep the RIAA alive, you could try looking for ideas to help the industry evolve. Just astroturfing the “I download and I’m a dickwad” thing is going to backfire.

  12. Hawley: Was this a survey of people Hawley knows? Please do offer better criticism of the survey than what you offered. What reason should we have to believe that your views are more representative of illicit file sharers than a survey of 1,000 people with Internet access aged 16-50?

    1. you have no r3eason to believe anything im saying, im just going by what i have experienced first hand on the various forms of p2p mediums that have been popular for the last 10 years or so.

      obviously the majority of the population is still buying music/games/movies in one form or another, the economy would have collapsed a long time ago if that wasn’t the case. never the less those who download (an ever increasing group of people it seems, judging by the popularity of torrent sites for an example) do not buy what they download, and how do i know they aren’t buying? i don’t know for 100% sure (and neither do you) but going by the general attitude on torrent forums, irc channels etc etc people don’t seem to be too keen on wasting their money.

  13. nobody said they buy the music they downloaded. just that they buy AND download. I have many, many downloads. I also have many many albums. some downloads happened after purchase attempts failed (couldn’t find or found in rare extra expensinve import form, etc) very often i download one album and buy the rest. those I’ve met who never buy music also tend to have shit taste and don’t respect music or musicians, in my experience.

  14. My circle of friends pirates their faces off. Music, games, and movies. My circle of friends also have large cd, record, game and dvd collections. I’m sure this is just a coincidence though.

  15. I forgot to mention in my previous comment that I too am encouraged to pay based on how the licensor treats me. A couple examples: I bought an unlimited Magnatune.com subscription, paid a little over $100 for a signed DVD of “Sita Sings the Blues”, and so on. I’m ready to spend money on art when the artists and distributors are ready to treat me with respect by licensing a copy of the work to me so that I can legally share it with anyone I choose (at least non-commercially and verbatim). If Richard Stallman’s “press here to send $1 to the band” idea were implemented as well, I’d probably use that button quite a lot.

  16. Wow. The music industry must be lying about how many albums they’re selling. And it must be a coincidence that Musicland, Sam Goody, Tower Records, HMV and Virgin Megastore all went out of business – but it’s probably because everyone is legally downloading music. Please.

    I’ve read about cases like this for years. I remember when DAT tapes came out and the industry was flipping out, there would be stories about guys that would swap tapes, like what they heard, and as a result they would buy more music.

    Yet, people rationalize it. “Industry parasites” deserve what they’re getting. Unless you’re Mother Teresa, you’re probably working for some business that “deserves” to get ripped off – in someone’s mind.

    I don’t work for the music industry. But if I put in a hard day’s work after agreeing to a certain amount of money for it, only to be told “Sorry, we feel that you were unreasonable in your asking price”, I’d be pissed. If you don’t think an album is worth buying, the answer isn’t to steal it. Hey, if I don’t think $250,000 is a fair price for a car, is it appropriate to steal one to make my point? Parents would flip out when their kid got caught shoplifting, but don’t care if they illegally download music or movies. I guess they’re not upset by the lack of morals, but the inconvenience and shame of having to get their kid out of jail.

    1. And it must be a coincidence that Musicland, Sam Goody, Tower Records, HMV and Virgin Megastore all went out of business – but it’s probably because everyone is legally downloading music.

      So…Borders, etc. are going out of business because people are illegally downloading e-books? Or is it perhaps because Amazon created a better business model for selling books? I’m sure that if Amazon were to open physical stores in high-rent locations, they could drive themselves out of business as well. You can’t compare meatspace shopping with online shopping.

    2. Re the long list of music stores you say were driven out of business:
      Sam Goody/ Musicland were the same business, and made some bad decisions.
      Virgin Megastores is still in business outside the UK. In the UK, it went under partly due to the credit crunch.
      HMV is still in business, and doing well.
      So the only example that you could say “was killed by the internet” is Tower, and even there, legal internet sales were a factor. Unless you claim that Amazon is stealing because you don’t walk into a brick-and-mortar store.
      So, your list of examples is a mixture of half-truths and outright lies. Better luck next time…

  17. @HAWLEY – You’re missing the point of the survey. The survey is regarding the top-spenders of the music industry; i.e. the die-hard fans of music.
    You are probably in the majority, as the majority pertains to casual listeners not die-hards fans. Unfortunately, for both parties, the downloaders they are targeting are the ones that download the most; the die-hards looking for new music, but don’t exactly want to fork over $10-$20 to find out they liked one song but the rest was drivel; so they also won’t be attending the show or buying the t-shirt.
    If you are satisfied downloading an album for free and contributing nothing to the “cow”, you probably aren’t interested in said “cow” producing more milk; meaning you aren’t a die-hard music fan.

  18. how about:
    bands give their music away for free online and allow people to share it.
    they can also sell the cds online and at concerts for those who prefer the shiny disc/booklet thing.
    the bands get massive free advertising and all profits therefore go to them.
    cuts the advertisers and the music execs out of the loop. two sharks out of the tank in one go
    sounds like an ideal situation to me

    1. @Pixleshifter

      You’re right, it’s not the same. I just meant that stealing is stealing, even if the chances of getting caught are low. I mean, some people (not you) are trying to come off looking like Robin Hood with their music downloading. Whoo! I’m stealing from the evil, rich music industry, and keeping it for myself. I don’t respect that. However, if you went to a drug dealer and said “You are a drain on society. I am taking your illegal narcotics away from you, and won’t give you any money in exchange in order to teach you a lesson”, THEN you’d get my respect.

      Re: your other comment. How exactly to bands get this “massive free advertising”? By giving away their music? If every band did that, how would they stand out? Look at the Apple’s App Store. More free crap than you can shake a stick at, and no way to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ll see a kinda interesting game for free, and won’t download it because it’s not worth my time. One of the few things that the music industry is good at, is publicity. They’re real good at getting “Put A Ring On It” played 50 times an hour on the radio.

  19. @billster
    you can’t compare downloading music with stealing cars, because when you steal a car it’s gone.
    it’s more comparable to taking a photograph of a painting, it’s making a copy of. the original is still there and up for sale to whoever wants ‘an original’

  20. Summary: People who enjoy music download it and purchase it.

    The results of this poll couldn’t be more intuitive.

    — MrJM

  21. Wasn’t there a study that showed this a couple years ago? And yet the bullshit legislation/lawsuits continue..

  22. @Antinous

    My point was that even taking legal downloading into consideration, it no way covers the huge drop in music sales. Are you saying that the music industry is selling more music?

    The title “Heavy illegal downloaders buy more music” would seem to imply that piracy is a good thing. People download stuff, enjoy it, and then race over to iTunes and buy it for real. Does anyone here think that this is happening?

    In 1999, the Backstreet Boys sold 2.2 million copies of their teen-friendly album in a WEEK. The teen-friendly “High School Musical” soundtrack came out in 2006 and sold 3.7 million copies in a YEAR.

    1. With all due respect, anything to do with “a huge drop in music sales” is absolute, utter fucking BULLSHIT. My CD sales are WAY UP since 1999. Every band, every musician, every songwriter I’ve met in my life sells more CDs now than they did in 1999.

      In 1999, a friend’s band spent nearly $10,000 to record an album, and over $3000 to print 1000 copies. I recorded my last album using free software on an 8 year old computer in my basement, and spent less than $20 on CDs. Kunaki, the company that prints my discs (retail ready, shrinkwrapped, with UPC code) prints them on demand and drop ships them to anyone who orders one. They charge me $1.75 and PayPal me the rest of the retail price I set. My home studio cost less than $6000 to set up, and is more capable than anything Elvis or Hendrix ever saw in their lifetimes.

      In 1990, I only knew 2 people who had recorded CDs. Right now, just my Facebook friends have over 100 currently available albums between them. They are actively selling these CDs, too- on CD Baby, at gigs, and on their websites. NOT ONE is signed to a major label. These albums and others like them account for 100% of my CD shopping budget for the last several years.

      Tell me RIGHT NOW how we factor into your “huge drop in sales”. Do we count at all? Is this number you allude to representative of ALL CD sales, or just 5 corporations’ market share?

      Oh, yeah, BTW- did you know that we’re having a recession? I work at a hotel, and our industry is down 23% this year. Are people illegally downloading rooms?

      1. Pixleshifter, I have no problem if you buy some music and “copy” it to your .mp3 player. I do have a problem if you don’t pay for it to begin with. That’s “stealing”.

        @ Mike the Bard. Are you under the impression that I’m upset that you’re selling more music? Hell, No! I think it’s GREAT that more people are able to make money doing what they love. And for your info, most of my music doesn’t come from a major label anymore. But I don’t think that in the years between 1999 and 2006 tweens evolved to the point where 20 million of them decided not to follow the herd, threw off the chains of the music industry, and embraced music that wasn’t played on the Disney Channel. My point is this: a lot of teenagers liked “High School Musical”, yet the soundtrack only sold 3 million copies. Pre-file sharing, the Backstreet Boys sold 20 million copies of an album. I doubt that 17 million kids suddenly decided to buy non-Disney music, recession or no.

        Why are people denying that many, many people are stealing music on the internet? And that it’s not a good thing to do? Why are people trying to justify it?

        1. “…a lot of teenagers liked “High School Musical”, yet the soundtrack only sold 3 million copies. Pre-file sharing, the Backstreet Boys sold 20 million copies of an album.”

          And how many movie tickets did the Backstreet Boys sell? How about their DVD sales? How much did the Backstreet Boys make from the commercials and product placement during their TV show? Correlation does not prove causality- CDs were a major part of the BBoys’ business model, but only a portion of HSM’s.

          Seriously- You honestly can’t picture the 34 million parents of those 17 million tweens- faced with rising inflation, skyrocketing insurance costs, loosing half of their 401Ks, and fearing unemployment- telling their kids “I already bought you all three movies. We saw all three in the theater- Twice. You can live without the CD.”

          Do you know how much the Backstreet Boys made from those 20 million albums? -$14million. That’s right: Where the management, promoters, producers, and label made billions, the band LOST $14 Million*- While every artist I know personally has seen both sales and profit margins increase over the same time period. Forgive me if I’m not shedding tears over those 3 million Disney discs.

          *This is not a unique situation. Some artists have been so screwed by their labels that they come out OWING money for each album sold. “Promotional” copies (store buys 10 copies at double price, gets 12 more free, label pays artist royalties on 10, rather than 22 copies); “breakage” clauses (calculated for CDs in bubble wrap at the same rate as WAX 78s in wooden crates); and the great beast that is “Recoupable Expenses”…It’s no wonder the labels want to put guys like me out of business. We realized this was a raw deal even before Pearl Jam, Prince, Madonna, NiN, Radiohead…

  23. El Reg has more from the same survey. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/01/demos_music_survey/

    At the end is a graph showing revenue against price for a hypothetical “all you can eat” download service which peaks at about £5.00 per month. What’s missing is the same price vs revenue graph for individual tracks. I’d suggest it’s somewhere around $0.20 per track or about $2.00 per album. This is the point where buying an easily found, properly encoded, properly tagged mp3 is preferable to getting it for free via P2P download.

    But I’d also suggest that P2P downloading is fading as a strategy for getting music vs either free streaming from places like last.fm or physically sharing hard disks, thumb drives and iPods.

  24. Yeah, yeah, yeah….we’ve heard this before – illegal down loaders are just the people media companies ought to be catering to. The problem, however, is that heavy illegal down loaders do buy lots of legal music and movies, but they only buy the good stuff. It’s easy to sell good stuff but the money is in selling crap because there is so much more of it. If you are ‘sampling’ music and movies you are not going to be buying crap, and the selling of crap is where the profit is because the larger volume of the stuff for sale is just crap. Sure you can have a business model where ‘sampling’ and ‘sharing’ is encouraged, but that means there will be far less quantity and therefore far less profit. Remember back in the day of mix tapes? How many albums had only 1 good song? Who is buying a whole CD anymore? Moe often than not it’s essentially renting a single cut at 99 cents.

  25. @billster
    you rather casually interchange the words ‘stealing’ and ‘copying’, they’re not the same, no matter how the industry and law try to label it.
    as for bands ‘standing out’; well that’s the whole issue with the internet isn’t it? everyone has an equal opportunity to stand out, and therefore it’s a lot harder to.
    if you take a look at what the music industry is trying to foister on the public as to what artists stand out, well i’d rather dig through the haystack to find the needles than accept the shovel of sh*t we’re told is the cream of the crop

  26. Free and paid model i think works best. Give some away , pay for the rest. It make sampling the product easy and offers a way for the artist to still get paid. Also, paying what you want is an interesting model per Radioheads – In rainbow release.

  27. Hawley, I’ve also bought things that I’d previously downloaded. I have friends who have as well. According to the survey the survey that’s the topic of this thread, a lot of people have.

    The reason people think you’re trolling is because you’re parroting the arguments of the copyright industry. You’re even insulting homebrew software authors by implying that they exist only to justify unlicensed software distribution.

    Billster, unlicensed music distribution isn’t stealing, so your “stealing is stealing” argument falls apart right at the beginning.

  28. Interesting, but it’s obvious that lobbyists will say: “… so if we force them to stop downloading, they’ll buy even more!”

  29. Billster, if I invented the Magic Matter Duplicator Gun, pointed it at your car, and drove off in the duplicate, would I have stolen your car? Would I have stolen a car from the car dealership, or the car factory?

  30. @billster (you’re a popular guy, huh? :P)

    I think where people are finding most fault with your argument, is the false assumption right at the beginning. The reason illegal file sharing has been branded ‘stealing’ is not because you gain new access to something. In regards to your flawed analogy earlier, the reason stealing is bad generally is because it deprives the rightful owner of her property, NOT because it nets the second party with product. ie, if I made an exact replica of your car at no cost to you, in what way is that bad?

    The argument used to brand illegal downloading as stealing is the idea that you are depriving the artist/company of theoretical profits. So, as of now, people are being forced to pay $1.92m for 24 songs, because record labels have managed to convince people that their assumed profits are just as legit as real ones. We’re legislating and treating people like criminals based on what someone *thinks* *might* have happened in an alternate reality. It’s the future already, but we don’t have jetpacks or precogs or sick-sticks… We just have greedy execs who ignore science, and try as hard as they can to ignore reality.

    And, incidentally, this study absolutely, positively undermines the profit-deprivation assumption too.

  31. this is not good at all… one must stop them at any cost otherwise the music industry will suffer a lot….

  32. billster: P2P music piracy is exactly identical to taking a photograph of a painting in a museum. If you claim that the former is stealing music from the artist, then you must also acknowledge that the latter is stealing the painting from the museum. Are you willing to affirm this necessary conclusion?

    My definition of stealing involves depriving someone of something to get it yourself. When I take your car without permission, you don’t have it anymore, and so I call that stealing. When I copy your song (or photograph your painting) without your permission, you still have it.

    I make a point of buying music that I like. But I never buy music that I haven’t heard unless it’s from a band I already trust. This is true of many people. The capacity exists for me to try before buying. The only people this harms are the musicians whose work I don’t like and would otherwise have wasted money on. I am not particularly concerned with the financial survival of musicians I don’t like.

    1. “P2P music piracy is exactly identical to taking a photograph of a painting in a museum.”

      No, taking a photo of a painting in a museum is like recording a live concert. P2P music piracy would be more like buying a photograph, and then making similar-quality copies of the photo and giving them away to people.

  33. I think pirates are just smarter, more industrious people in general.
    They’re usually on the cutting edge of culture, as well as technology, and often make more than regular people.

  34. I used to download a lot of torrents, most of the time just to listen to see if i liked it, so 1 listen, and there it would stay in my MP3 library as an illegal album that i will not listen to again.

    However, i like vinyl, so if i did like the album i would buy it on wax. Most albums come with a download coupon now so my DL was validated.

    Since using LaLa tho, i can listen to an album i am interested in, in high quality uninterrupted start to finish (once) and then make my decision. This i think is the best single achievement in the fight against music piracy as it makes browsing music legal and easy.

    i feel like it is respectful to artist and music lover alike.

  35. Here is a British study from 2005 with similar findings:

    In the first place, a lot of what I download is stuff I already have on CD or vinyl, or stuff that is so obscure it never made it to CD.

    When it comes to new music, a good percentage of the time if it is something I enjoy I DO buy CDs and records, and I can think of a number of artists I would never have know about had it not been for p2p sharing.

    Though if you ask me, if companies really want to attract buyers, they should not only offer a decent sales option online, they should bring back more vinyl.

    Why pay for fragile, scratchable medium like CD when there are options which are more convenient and can be reproduced (online) and more solid and durable (vinyl)?

    A platter of analog vinyl in a nicely-printed jacket is something no file sharing system can duplicate. It also has a value that CDs sadly lack.

  36. Of course it is true that some people download music for free and the don’t purchase it-even if they like it. But that does not automatically mean that the record company has lost a sale. People have a limit on the amount of disposable income they have. How many people download music that they could not have afforded to buy, possibly because they’d already spent all their money on music? That’s not saying that doing so is right, merely pointing out that ‘every download is lost income’ is a fallacy.
    The silliest thing that I’ve seen the music industry claim is that it also equates to a loss to the economy. As if there is somehow some hidden stock of money that hasn’t been spent on music-or anything else. Money not spent on CDs as people downloaded for free is going to get spent on other things, it still gets into the economy, and probably still attracts VAT.
    There is a much more likely reason for music sales declining-gaming and other new technologies. There are a lot more forms of entertainment available than there were when music sales were at their peak.

  37. I have bought more albums this year, off the back of either hearing something first through illegal downloading/or listening on Spotify, than I have in any other year, I think. It’s been growing that way for some years now.

    And band below tier A (massive CD sellers like Robbie Williams and Lily Allen etc for pop in the UK, and I suppose all your Beyonces and such in the US) do not make money from CD sales, I don’t think they have not for many years.

    My partner and his song-writing partner still OWE their record company around £42,000 ($68,800)for their album. That’s right. They OWE the record label.

    Touring and merchandise (excluding CD sales), will generally rake in more money for an artist than selling their album/being paid for their album by their label.
    And to be fair, bands should be playing live all the time, that’s what music is about.

  38. Seriously. Mike The Bard is on the money here. I gave up a long time paying £15 for a CD. I got stuff from IRC/P2P/FTP, whatever. What I liked, I got from as close to source as I could. I got into a stack of independents on MP3 and Besonic and got there stuff, threw some cash their way too. I had friends in DE buy stuff at industrial gigs from the band’s mates on a stand selling CDs and tees. They then shipped ’em to me in the UK. The artists I bought stuff from were all on minor labels. My mate ran a label in Nottingham and he ran it well, treated his groups well, like the clients they were.

    But the huge labels and the advertisers are the sharks in the f–king pond. MP3s were the grenades in the water.
    Short story – I had an CDMP3 player (NAPA316) way back in the day when Sony et al where sticking the boot into the layer 3 format. One day, it stopped working so I cracked it open and the CD mechanism was made by Sony. The whole piracy/MP3/P2P thing goes deep and there are some unexpected fingers in the pies.

  39. Apropos to this claim, I have a friend whose modem lights are strobing 24/7 in an attempt to keep up with his torrent clicking habits, but he spends just about every spare penny he has on CDs, DVDs and comics (which he also torrents).

    He couldn’t spend any more than he does, and to be honest he can’t possibly consume everything he downloads, so in the final analysis he’s supporting the assorted industries and wasting his own time & drive space on the side.

    On the other hand I know someone who downloads plenty and buys little… but bought little before the torrent era. I think all the people I know who download fit the suggested model in as much as their downloading hasn’t affected their spending level.

    Actually the one exception I can think of is the Nintendo DS. I know several people with ‘backup’ carts for the DS and I don’t think any of them buy games for it at all. To some degree I think there’s a convenience factor there – they buy plenty of other games, and the really beauty of DS piracy is you can carry a hundred games around with you and not worry about a hundred tiny cartridges. These people buy iPhone games (at much smaller price points) which I imagine they could easily pirate with a little effort. But if iPhone games came on cartridges in boxes… or if DS games were £1.29 (the DSi model, I guess)… ah, who knows?

    But yeah, the DS in my experience gets pirated up the wazoo with no attendant financial support. Yet every month there seems to be more shelf space dedicated to it in the local game shops, at the expense of systems on which piracy is much more difficult…

    Not entirely sure how I got here from there, but I suppose my observation is that downloading in my experience is generally ‘as well as’ rather than ‘instead of’, as others have noted.

  40. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’ve probably bought more music in the six months since I started using Spotify than I did in the two years before that.

    I prefer to buy direct from the artists, and I’ll take the physical disc if I can get it.

  41. At some point, the artists and fans need to make a decision.
    Either it is unethical for an artist to sign onto a label that litigates against fans of music, or it isn’t.
    This leaves aside [complex] moral questions regarding downloading of a compressed representation of an original audio file (2- 3 MB vs. 250 MB).
    It is right for a forward thinking artist to sign on a label that they know will hunt down their fans?
    By screwing up radio, the labels shot themselves in the foot. Then, they continued to call themselves “record” companies even while Apple began including BUILT INTO THE OPERATING SYSTEM an entire music studio minus talent, microphones, and pre-amps, but with basically everything else to record, mixdown, master, reproduce, and distribute.
    There is no rationale reason for artists to feel that they need to continue to support “record” companies, except for those interesting cottage industries that actually still make vinyl. Those are the only record companies that have a reason for existance, as the mac does not yet include that in the operating system.

  42. Musicland/Sam Goody and Tower Records were not fatally wounded by P2P. They were fatally wounded by selling CDs for $18-25 at the same time that CDNow, Amazon, your Mom-and-Pop local store and sometimes even WorstBuy were selling the same disks for $10. It’s not rocket science and it’s not pirating. It’s dinosaurs running businesses into the ground due to inability or reluctance to change with the times.

  43. People that download music i have no problem with as i don’t think its a bad idea as it can give new bands the publicity that they would other wise have to pay for.
    Over many years i have bought shed loads of original music the real deal original cds.
    I do like to mp3 them or blast them out on my pc or have a go at mixing. (really Not to good).
    I am and always will be a mad application user/tester downloader.
    buying all of these applications would cost $$$$$$$$ and most people cannot afford some of the prices of the apps and if you only use these apps now and again why the hell pay the excessive prices. Ive just found some old old apps from 1999. some good some bad. most dont work.

  44. I can give right away another example – After surfing a while around piratebay, I’ve stumbled upon this website; by reading the comments I learned about Amanda Palmer’s blog and the direct link to donate her some money – which I did immediately! Why? I heard her the first time by downloading a Dresden Dolls’ album; loved it and bought it when I had the chance… It’s just one of the many examples I personally have. I can assure anyone that I’ve been spending more money on music since I start my own “illegal” activities…

  45. The next generation of music will be released free of charge on social sites like myspace. The recorded music will only be advetisement for live shows. musicians will make alot more money because they only need a single manager instead of bloated money hungry record labels. then we won’t have to listen to these over produced garbage record labels are puting out these days.

  46. I think one point that everyone has missed is the fact that downloading – illegally or otherwise gives people access to music that is otherwise non-existant in a typical music store – I’m talking stuf like underground grindcore and death metal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a death metal record (REAL death metal not the stuff that’s signed onto roadrunner or other popular labels [victory]) but labels like earache, dark realm, metal edge. i now buy from those labels, but would have never found them if not for downloading.

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