According to a new study conducted at the request of the Canadian government, peer-to-peer file sharing actually increases record sales. Researchers found that for every CD downloaded, the guilty parties purchase o.44 CDs.
What, then, accounts for the sharp decline in CD sales over the last seven years? Well, in this interview with the hosts of Sound Opinions (it's show #104), the study's co-author, Birgitte Andersen, speculates that it is a semantic argument. Music sales, she suggests, haven't declined, CD sales have. Many music consumers (god, I hate that word) are downloading music legitimately from sites like Itunes, rather than purchasing them the old fashioned way at record shops. Large labels foolishly devoted to an obsolete business model are cleverly manipulating the wording in order to blame teh interwebs for their own shortsightedness. Sony, Virgin, Warner Bros., Capitol, et al. are pining hopelessly for the old days of radio stations and retailers during an era of satellite radio, online podcasting and self-produced releases. Moreover, the sharp improvement in home recording technology combined with online distribution strategies has resulted in an epidemic of tiny, ultra-indie labels that don't register on the RIAA's radar. While it's true that things are bad for the aforementioned recording industry behemoths, things are great for the many, many niche labels that have emerged over the last decade or so.
Labels like this. And this. And this.
Like turn-of-the-century carriage makers who couldn't adapt to the changing times, big labels are actually trying to outlaw a new technology that they failed to anticipate, and there's only one thing for us to say: