If piracy and illegal downloaders really are killing the music industry, how come more singles have been sold this year than ever before and people who file-share spend more money on legal releases than those who do not file-share?
I have to admit, it's not been a good week to be on the side of law and order and the established way of things as far as the music business is concerned. While the UK Government pushes ever onwards with the Digital Economy Bill which promises a robust legal and regulatory framework to deal with illegal file-sharing, and continues to insist that illegal downloading is a real threat to the music industry, figures have been released which seem to undermine the official 'three strikes and your out' to save creative output position.
According to the Daily Mail a newly published study shows that, in the UK at least, those who download illegal music actually spend considerably more on buying legal music than those who do not admit to illegal downloading. When it comes to music singles and albums, the illegal downloaders spend an average of £77 per year on official releases while people who say they have never downloaded any music illegally spend only £44 per year.
Of those asked, around two thirds would stop downloading illegally if music download services were cheaper. Just reducing the cost to 45p a track could double the sales of legal downloads it would seem. Add to this the fact that 42% of people said they download illegally to try before they buy, and 83% insist they buy more music as a result of such downloading, and you get the feeling that the music industry needs to be examining new music distribution business models and exploiting them rather than applying the big stick with fingers in ears going la la la approach.
The British Phonographic Industry, the UK music industry trade association, reckons that illegal downloaders will cost the music biz around £200 million in lost sales by the end of this year. Yet at the same time it is being reported that the BPI is also saying that 2009 will be the biggest year ever as far as sales of singles in the UK is concerned. The previous record for most single records being sold was et, er, last year in fact. Even more proof, were it needed, that illegal downloads are simply not killing the music business as is constantly being suggested by the industry powers that be.