Looks Like the RIAA Just Got PWNED!

People who illegally share music tend to spend more money on music than people who don’t!

Not that I think this will make the RIAA stop their lawsuits, etc., etc., etc., but it does show that by trying to stop downloading of music, the RIAA’s simply slitting their own throats.

I don’t really think that proves anything other than that there is a lot MORE money they are losing.

I’ve read before that most people who illegally download music do it to “test drive” songs or artists, and many of them will buy the music they like legally.

a few things:

  • this was a survey; i lie to surveyists all the time (doesn’t everyone?)
  • of only 600 people; hardly quantative statistics.
  • it only shows that they buy more digital music; what % of the record industry’s $ comes from digital music? i bet it’s not none.

now if you’ll excuse me, i’ve got mp3s to download.

Diceman, yes, and the standard argument is that this is not true. In fact, the riaaa says that the opposite is true. This is a load of codswalop. Tuckerfan is 100% right.


It doesn’t work that way, middleman.

This is anecdotal, I know, but most of my friends have confirmed that their take on things jibes with this:

Back when Napster was first out, I used to use it to find songs I had heard once on the radio, at a friend’s house, or even just something I had heard about. This was faster than listening to the radio or watching Empty-V (an option I don’t have) until the song chanced to come on. If I liked what I heard, I would go buy the album it came from, reasoning that $10 was a fair risk because I already knew that I liked one of the 10 or so songs on the album. It seemed likely to me that I would like more than just the one song, and perhaps I would like all 10.

Now, knowing that the RIAA might threaten me with a lawsuit, I don’t bother. As such, some of my exposure to new music is lessened, and thus I buy less music at the store.

Again, I know that is anecdotal evidence, but most of my friends have confirmed to me that that was how they used file-sharing as well.

This is common knowledge to anyone with half a brain. All you have to do is compare music industry profits with file sharing activity. In 1999, when the original Napster was at its peak, the music industry made record profits in the neighborhood of $18 billion. When Napster got shut down, profits dropped off sharply. Now that other file-sharing servies have come into vogue (along with legal services like iTunes and the new Napster) profits are back to record highs again.

The RIAA incorrectly assumes that every single illegal download represents a lost sale, when in fact it’s impossible to determine whether or not that person would have bought the song if he or she couldn’t download it. Heck, I’ve known some mp3 hogs that treat mp3s like “warez”, their mission is just to collect as many terabytes as possible for bragging rights, they don’t even listen to them!

Still, the RIAA will always use file sharing as its own private whipping boy, and cite the spectre of vanishing profits as an excuse to cut royalty payments, increase licensing fees, etc.

My friend and I hold the same position at Bo. Music has always been caveat emptor – buy it on the chance that you’ll love it, like it, dislike it, or want to throw the fucking CD at the wall. We bought less music then, because we didn’t just have $20 to toss out on something we’d never listen to again. Now we can sample and are buying a lot more stuff. My personal music collection has probably increased threefold since I started using P2P. We’re also being introduced to loads of artists that get no airplay, which is always a good thing.

But P2P refuses to help a girl out with better spelling and grammar, the fucking thing.

That should read “My friends and I hold the same position as Bo.”

It makes sense to me. Back before I took the time to consider the morality of sharing music, I bought tons of CDs based on songs I’d downloaded like a kid in a candy shop. There are just no radio stations around here that play my kind of music and there’s only a few who have a good broadcast signal anyway. I never heard anything new, so I didn’t know of most new artists or even when my favorites came out with a CD. I went from a slump of not having bought a CD in a couple of years, to about fifty or sixty in less than a year.

Now that I don’t download for free, my music buying is way down again. Samples from Amazon aren’t enough and I just can’t find a for-pay download site that I want to bother with yet.

It’s still wrong to download for free, I believe. And there are* a lot* of people who never buy the cd after downloading a few songs first.

But when people “test drive” music for free, realize they DON’T like ot, and then as a result choose not to buy an album, hasn’t the download denied them a sale?

I think their business plans call for consumers to make a mistake an buy Rikki Rockett’s solo effort.

Buy being able to listen to it first, realize that not only does Rockett suck, but so does Poison, you are taking away a sale, right?

Now, a travesty has been avoided, for sure. And that will teach them to never let a member of a mediocre band have a solo album, but it has caused damages!

MESSAGE: There are no winners when Rikki Rockett has a solo album.

Am I still on the Straight Dope Message Board? :confused:

No. Because if they couldn’t “test drive” it, they just wouldn’t bother. No sale either way.

Absolutely frickin’-lutely. No “artist” has lost one single cent from me unless their business model involves my having to buy their CD before knowing whether I like it or want it or not. I got really sick of that during the vinyl days. Buy an album based on one song, find out you just spent $20 for one song and nine stupid, sucky songs.

Too bad for you.

I think it was Warehouse Records that, for a brief period would let you buy an album, let you listen to it, then return it if you didn’t like it. That didn’t last long.

Virgin (I think) stores let you listen to the music at their stores, if they happened to have what you wanted to hear on one of their germ-laden skuzzy headphone sets, and if you loved music enough to go to one of their stores, assuming you lived anywhere near one of their stores. Not for me.

If you’re an artist turned business person, and you want to make money off me, you’re going to have to adapt to market conditions, or go out of business.

Don’t lobby congress and get laws passed to make me a criminal for deciding whether I even want your product before having to buy it. That’s business gone out of control.

I bought a lot more music when I was using a decent client for the Napster and OpenNap networks.

Search for music I already like, so I could listen to it on my computer --> Find user with buttload of music I already like --> Sample other stuff user has that I haven’t heard of, and get turned on to it --> Go to store and inquire after new artists, feel joy at having their tunes uncompressed and complete --> Repeat as necessary.

For instance, if not for Napster, I wouldn’t have a clue who Jack Johnson was, and would not be encouraged by his presence on the pop charts. No money from me. Now, I have all the CDs that he’s released, will likely buy any others that come out, and went to see him live once. Quite an expenditure, none of which would have happened if I didn’t keep seeing his tracks in the folders of users who shared my tastes.

Saul Williams? Talvin Singh? Who the hell are they? Oh yeah, those cats I found that a few exceptionally cool Napster users were into, and whose CDs I will now snap up whenever I possibly can.

Geez, remember the payola scandal? Back when promoters knew that people buy music that they’re exposed to? Having a dodgy MP3 of a tune isn’t the same thing as having it on an actual CD, any more than having a bunch of tunes recorded off the AM band onto reel-to-reel is the same thing as owning the singles. People will always pay to own the real deal, and anything that increases the profile of a product will increase sales. This is why the only artists that take an anti-music-sharing stance are generally those whose success is based more on their ludicrous overpromotion than their talent.

Now that there are no decent filesharing programs (please don’t suggest any if you disagree) I’ve gone back to listening to the stuff I already have, and hardly buy any new music.

I’ve heard that since the average computer user’s computer doesn’t deliver a very clear product, the only use of a downloaded song is to get a rough idea of whether you like the song(s) enough to buy the album. Besides, isn’t this just like friends making mix tapes for each other; the result is the same, but the technology has improved?

I use Gnucleus, iTunes, and CDs, in roughly that order.

My music-of-choice is overwhelmingly imported; I just broke a two-year streak of buying no American music (The Iguanas’ Nuevo Boogaloo, for the record), and this means that most of my CDs run about $15-20 a pop. Nine times out of ten, that means that I’ll only buy a CD if I know I’m going to like most of the tracks on it; spending $15 for a CD with two good tracks is ridiculous. There are a couple of artists that I’ll buy a CD from, completely unheard, or with maybe one track, but for most of my music purchases, I want to hear more than just the headline single.

So I hit up Gnucleus. I can grab a track list and four or five tracks, and if I like enough of them, I’ll buy the CD. If I don’t, I’ll hit up iTunes. Sometimes, if the CD isn’t that expensive, I’ll just buy it anyways; the sound quality is nicer.

The really great thing about this is that a surprising number of the MP3s I find have end-tags with recommendations on them; if I look up Icon of Coil, I might find a remix that Apoptygma Berzerk did for them, and from them find that they also worked with VNV Nation, and suddenly I’m listening to more bands and buying more music. If it didn’t work that way, then I’d just stick with the people I know; it’s easier.

iTunes is really great, with its preview function, but sometimes that doesn’t work quite right; their selection isn’t as big as it could be, in the genres I want, and if you have big songs that go through different phases, the preview isn’t always very representative. I’ve loved songs on iTunes preview and hated them when the whole thing came down the pipe.

If I didn’t have all this at hand?

Hey, I’m just buying music from the four or five bands I can trust unheard.

It does make a certain sort of sense. These people are enthusiatic about music. That is why they both steal and pay for music.

It’s kind of interesting that you mention this because I own five cd’s by Icon of Coil. And it all started because I found an mp3 of “Shallow Nation” on Napster back in 2000 when I was perusing the files of someone who had a bunch of Apoptygma Berzerk stuff. Without that single download, I probably would have never even given them a try.

The recording industry’s business model (which appears to count dissatisfied sales as successes) reminds me of a cartoon in the New Yorker*:

Trial lawyer addressing a jury: "Pay attention, people – I’m trying to sway you!"

*Which, FTR, I bought and paid for :wink: