Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Pirates Can't Be Stopped in Portfolio

Daniel Roth's excellent piece "The Pirates Can't be Stopped" in Portfolio. He also discussed the story on NPR's On the Radio (full transcript.

Yet it has been difficult to quantify the damage supposedly wreaked by downloading. In mid-2007, economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee, from Harvard, and Koleman Strumpf, from the University of Kansas, published the results of their study analyzing the effect of file sharing on retail music sales in the U.S. They found no correlation between the two. "While downloads occur on a vast scale," they wrote, "most users are likely individuals who in the absence of file sharing would not have bought the music they downloaded." Another study published around the same time, however, found there was, in fact, a positive impact on retail sales, at least in Canada: University of London researchers Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz reported that the more people downloaded songs from P2P networks, the more CDs they bought [READ FULL REPORT]. "Roughly half of all P2P tracks were downloaded because individuals wanted to hear songs before buying them or because they wanted to avoid purchasing the whole bundle of songs on the associated CDs, and roughly one-quarter were downloaded because they were not available for purchase."

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