posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 05:39 AM
Interesting info, OP. Thanks for posting. I have heard similar results from -- I believe -- another recent study.
First off, I think the repercussions of digital media are still not well understood, and it will be a while before society works out rules for dealing
effectively and fairly with this technology and intellectual property rights. But here are some random thoughts of mine on the matter:
Back in the early 20th century, music companies made money off of sheet music, and even when there started being recording artists contracted to music
companies, these companies didn't like radio and the fact that "their" music could be played there. Only after a while did they figure out that
radio play was advertising for their product. Perhaps online piracy works similarly; however, if one can get the same quality of media free, I don't
see people paying for it unless their are legal consequences to pirating.
As the reports say, a vast portion of the pirated material would not have been purchased/acquired otherwise, so it is not clear that each act of
piracy cuts into media purchases, but clearly unfettered pirating will affect sales negatively, particularly as more and more people becoming savvy to
downloading without paying for media.
But here are some observations I have in my own experience.
1) I have bought music first as records, then as CDs, then remastered CD's have come out andI have duplicated some of these purchases as well. Now
I am supposed to pay for purely digital recordings of these same albums, if I don't want to bother with burning them from my own CDs? In this
respect I think media companies are being very piggish, and I have no sympathy for them.
2) There have been albums (cd or record) that I have looked high and low for in stores for years to no avail, and have even ordered from a
record/music store, but wasn't in the end able to get a copy of because it was said to be out of print. But as it turns out, on the web these items
were freely available. If companies can't provide the product for their would-be consumers, then again I have no sympathy for them.
There is a lot of obscure music -- lots of it out of print or created decades ago --out there that most people would never be aware of if it weren't
for various blogspots. Free online distribution is helping to promote such cultural materials, and may lead to sales of related material. It
certainly helps to keep portions of culture alive that would otherwise die out because they aren't massively popular and being marketed.
3) Then there are all these (apparently legal) music streaming services, online indie music distributors of free content in order to market indy
artists, and similar sites for ebooks. So in other words there are legal/legitimate ways of getting free media downloads. This just seems to promote
wild-cat downloading of all sorts of media.
4) Given the marginal cost of making a digital copy for some sale by any media company, the prices they charge for purely electronic video, music and
books is highway robbery. In some cases electronic books cost more than their printed counterparts. If media companies want to make pirating less
appealing, then they should offer more reasonable prices.
5) There are people who are conditioned to pay for everything and/or ignorant of how to download for free, or are fearful of authority and of breaking
laws. Or they make plenty of money, so they don't mind paying for stuff. These people are the loyal herd-mentality consumers media companies rely
on. I think this population is decreasing in size as time goes on. Frankly, I feel sorry for record/music stores and book stores; I see them going
the way of video stores.
As an anecdote, the band My Bloody Valentine recently released a new album, which apparently is only available commercially from the band's website.
I did a online search, and sure enough there were already freely available copies available from several file-sharing sites. However, the local indy
music stores didn't have copies because it was only commercially available from the artist. I really felt sorry for the proprietor of the store when
this came to my attention; these music stores are on their way out. And from how few customers were in there, that day is fast approaching.
Related to this, if some more equitable system is not worked out between producers and consumers of media content, I can see there being a day when no
profit for content makers (movie producers, actors, etc; musicians; and authors will cause these purveyors of culture to choose to stop producing such
products. Thus a system more fair to both consumers and producers should be worked out; otherwise we might end up with a cultural Dark Age. To claim
that online piracy has no effect on media sales is being disingenuous