Study Claims: Illegal Downloading of Music Does Not Hurt the Music Industry

A European study claims that illegal downloading of music does not hurt the music industry. This study was conducted by Luis Aguiar and Bertin Martins using Nielsen “clickstream” data and released by the European Commission Joint Research Centre who interviewed 16,000 European music consumers.

The biggest finding, or the one that most people will probably be interested in, is that illegal music downloads had essentially no effect on the number of legal music downloads.

The study also goes on to say that legal purchases of music would be about two percent lower without illegal downloading available. What this is getting at is that illegal downloads helps increase legal downloads. The conclusion of their findings is that consumers usually download music they never intended on purchasing in the first place – streaming music also has a positive effect.

So what does this mean? I suppose not a whole bunch for most people. Musicians and record companies have long complained about piracy, even going as far as suing regular people who have done it. This study seems to say that those people were buying music, too, probably. I don’t want anyone finding and suing me for downloading music illegally because I would never do such a thing, but I can probably say that someone I know personally has definitely downloaded the new Justin Timberlake album and probably won’t be buying it. I am not saying this person doesn’t like the new album, it’s great – even though the songs could all be about three minutes shorter. Now if that person were only able to hear that album by purchasing it legally, I would have to assume this person might purchase it, but that’s a very slight might. This person is on a very tight budget.

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