File-Sharers Buy 30 Percent More Music Than Non-Sharers

Illustration for article titled File-Sharers Buy 30 Percent More Music Than Non-Sharers

A massive public policy study has revealed that on average file-sharers buy 30 percent more music than their non-sharing counterparts. That suggests that the record labels' self-declared enemies are in fact their best customers.

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The study, known as the Copy Culture Survey, was carried out by the non-partisan American Assembly, and the results were teased yesterday. It's based on thousands of in-depth telephone interviews across the US, and it's probably one of the most thorough reviews of media sharing habits to be undertaken.

The results, which seem to fly in the face of assumed record label wisdom, show that file-sharers buy 30 percent more music than their non-sharing counterparts. Interestingly, it also points out that offline copying is far more prevalent than online music piracy.

However, it's also worth pointing out that self-confessed P2P file sharers reported having larger music collections. So, it might not be all too surprising that music lovers, with bigger music collections, also buy more music: a taste for media consumption encourages both file sharing and purchasing.

That, along with the news that offline piracy is a bigger concern, is something the record labels need to wrestle with. [American Assembly via Torrent Freak]

DISCUSSION

This doesn't really change anything. It just shows that if music pirates were forced to pay for all the content they received, the music industry would receive considerably more money, which is pretty much what they've been saying all along. Music is expensive. $1 per song doesn't seem like a lot until you consider that it's only 3 minutes or so and if you like wearing headphones wherever you go, you need a lot of music (at least 5 hours a day, probably) to make things even remotely interesting. That on its own is $100. But what if you listen to music for 8-10 hours a day, and you don't want to repeat yourself more than once a week? It becomes a very expensive habit, and you probably start following certain bands, which means your music collection will continue to grow at a steady rate. At that point, it makes no economic sense to pay for all of your music, since it's value is so low to your everyday life, but it's cost is so high. If music retailers cut the price of a song in half and removed locks on music sharing, they would probably still make more of a profit than they do now.