Study: Filesharing doesn’t dramatically affect CD sales

From this article originally published in the Washington Post:

Songs that were heavily downloaded showed no measurable drop in sales, the researchers found after tracking sales of 680 albums over the course of 17 weeks in the second half of 2002. Matching that data with activity on the OpenNap file-sharing network, they concluded that file sharing actually increases CD sales for hot albums that sell more than 600,000 copies. For every 150 downloads of a song from those albums, sales increase by a copy, the researchers found.

Very interesting indeed. But I wonder what p2p filesharing’s effect on songs that aren’t on “hot albums that sell more than 600,000 copies”? For many years, I’ve believed that p2p filesharing can only help such songs. But I’d love to see some empirical research to support this.

Another passage:

Oberholzer-Gee and his colleague, University of North Carolina’s Koleman Strumpf, also said that their “most pessimistic” statistical model showed that illegal file sharing would have accounted for only 2 million fewer compact discs sales in 2002, whereas CD sales declined by 139 million units between 2000 and 2002. “From a statistical point of view, what this means is that there is no effect between downloading and sales,” said Oberholzer-Gee.

Now, I am of course suspicious of statistical analyses. But this is good stuff. Bottom line, p2p filesharing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The music industry will either adapt or die.

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