Monday, April 05, 2004

New Study: Music Downloading Harmless

The New York Times today has an interesting story about illegal music downloads. According to two economics professors, music downloads reduce music sales by "an amount statistically indistinguishable from zero". The reaction by the music industry has been less than convincing:
Amy Weiss, an industry spokeswoman, expressed incredulity at what she deemed an "incomprehensible" study, and she ridiculed the notion that a relatively small sample of downloads could shed light on the universe of activity. The industry response, titled "Downloading Hurts Sales," concludes: "If file sharing has no negative impact on the purchasing patterns of the top selling records, how do you account for the fact that, according to SoundScan, the decrease of Top 10 selling albums in each of the last four years is: 2000, 60 million units; 2001, 40 million units; 2002, 34 million units; 2003, 33 million units?"
That's like saying to Alibi John, "if Suspect Joe was with you on Thursday evening, then how do you account for the fact that a murder occurred?" Read the story. It's really quite interesting -- if the music industry's data is as bad as the article implies it is, it's downright scandalous that this kind of data hasn't been collected sooner.

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