P2P File-sharers Are Actually Music Industry's Best Customers, Report Finds


Pirates really like their music;  Photo Courtesy of the American Assemmbly

File sharers are going to ruin the music industry they said. It will cripple artists, engineers, producers and even the fans they said. Music in general will die a horrible, peer to peer death they said.

Well, according to one of the most comprehensive studies on the downloading and buying habits of American and German consumers – brought to us by the American Assembly – it turns out that music industry cancer file sharers actually buy 30% more music than their non-file-sharing  peers.

Yup, you read correctly – the group most often vilified by the industry is actually its best customer. And if that wasn’t enough to get the big wigs at Warner Music and the like off of file-sharer’s back, the research also shows that contrary to popular belief,  good old offline copying and sharing is far more prevalent than online file-sharing.

Taking a look at a direct quote from the Recording Industry Association of America, their position is pretty clear when it comes to online file-sharing:

“While downloading one song may not feel that serious of a crime, the accumulative impact of millions of songs downloaded illegally – and without any compensation to all the people who helped to create that song and bring it to fans – is devastating.”

The RIAA’s stance in a nutshell is that they have theoretically lost billions in revenue because – according to their logic – the more people pirate music the less they will buy it legally. Sure, the logic is sound but there has never really been any hard data to support this claim.

The report found that the reason why self-confessed peer to peer file sharers actually purchase more music is because they tend to have a larger collection of music – ergo – they are huge music lovers.

“US P2P users have larger collections than non-P2P users (roughly 37% more). And predictably, most of the difference comes from higher levels of ‘downloading for free’ and ‘copying from friends/family’,” American Assembly’s Joe Karaganis writes. “But some of it also comes from significantly higher legal purchases of digital music than their non-P2P using peers–around 30% higher among US P2P users. Our data is quite clear on this point and lines up with numerous other studies: The biggest music pirates are also the biggest spenders on recorded music.”

Very interesting stuff – although I seriously doubt this will do anything to stop the egregious lawsuits being flung and file-sharers across the country or the stance of the RIAA (even though a leaked report from them pretty much pointed towards the same results).

If you would like to check out the entire lengthy report – full of graphs and charts like the one above, you can do so here.

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