A new study claims that piracy could increase digital sales of music albums

Music Albums
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Although many people download music illegally and anyone who has them are widely persecuted by quite a few countries, people believe that this kind of actions negatively affect the music, film and related industries. The truth is that a new study suggests otherwise.

Jonathan Lee, researcher at the Department of Economics at Queen’s University has discovered that, under what circumstances, piracy would not only serve to promote an album, but also to boost their sales. With a number of conditions but let us explain…

What the study says?

Specifically, the document is the result of work that has lasted more than a decade. A period of time that has examined the effect of file sharing on CD sales, both physical and digital music formats. What is the goal? Find out if the piracy harmed or acted as a promotion.

To achieve this, they have relied on data pertaining to 250,000 albums and 4.8 million downloads carried out via BitTorrent. An analysis whose results have shown that it is virtually impossible to determine a “positive or negative effect of piracy on sales.” It all depends on parameters such as the type of artist popularity, gender, environment, and other variables.

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Lee says that the negative results relate primarily to physical transactions, while the opposite happens with digital, “suggesting that word-of-mouth effect is more relevant to the world market,” he says. In addition, the popularity of the singer is also a determining factor. “Artists primarily lose sales, but the loss is offset by an increase in digital sales,” he says.

Regarding the less popular artist, piracy only benefits those who are “really talented”. It gives them the opportunity to meet potential buyers of his or her record. Something that rarely happens with those who are not as good because people are not willing to pay money for their music.

That being said, it is worth noting that this research is not unique in its kind, but there are precedents that go back even to 2004. Despite the technological change habits that have taken place since then, we find one produced by David Blackhurn, Harvard University and entitled On-line Piracy and Recorded Music Sales, reaches similar conclusions. In fact, it says file sharing is beneficial for 75% of the artists.

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Moreover, in 2014 a research at the Institute for Prospective Technological collaborated with the Joint Research Centre and found that piracy does not affect digital sales. “It has been concluded that music consumers substitute for legal consumption of music by the illegal consumption of music, but much of what is consumed illegally would not have purchased if piracy is not available,” he stated the document.

In  conclusion, we cannot lose sight of the singers and artists have other sources of income, such as tours and concerts. In fact, Patrik Wilson, author of The Music Industry: Music Cloud and states that these licenses are the main “sources of income for musicians.” A statement made from Madonnas team state that they generate 95% of their income on tour.

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