back to article Official: P2P music not harming Canada

Another study of P2P networks has found that music file-sharing has no detrimental effect on the CD racket and, if anything, is associated with higher physical sales. This time the verdict comes from two University of London economists working for Canadian government business tentacle Industry Canada. Birgitte Andersen and …


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  1. Don S.

    Ironic ...

    ... this coming a week after the Canadian Copyright Board slapped a 1.5 to 3 cent tariff on legal (e.g. Itunes) downloads.

    Yes I said legal.

  2. Mark

    In the vain hope of staving of smelly finger

    This isn't about causation but correlation. That the best fit to the number of downloads to number of CD's show that they rise together. That's all.

    It isn't saying anything about *why*. There could be lots of reasons and they could be different for different people. But the FACT is that high downloading rates go with high purchase rates is proven.

    The industry could say that without downloading, those people would have bought MORE music. However, it could be that they would buy less. For every reasonable argument for one side, there's a reasonable argument for the other.

    What it DEFINITELY shows is that people aren't downloading INSTEAD of buying, but they are doing BOTH and that more downloading doesn't mean that individual is buying less.

  3. Luke


    Gosh, what a fucking surprise

    Stick that up your Recording Ass of America

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for consensus

    This whole mess has arisen for one reason - there is no consensus on the morality of ownership of music.

    On the one hand, musicians deserve to make money from their creativity, and new musicians need investment. Some will also argue that companies have a moral right to exploit musicians as they are simply selling a product, just like a car manufaturer.

    On the other hand, many people simply don't accept the idea that the big music companies are either doing a very good job or have the right to control music in the way they do. Some will argue that music belongs to everyone and so should be free at the point of access in the same way that education and healthcare are.

    Some feel that everyone should obey the law, no matter how they feel. Others believe that unjust rules should be broken to show how unjust they are.

    Unfortunately, the world's governments don't want to get involved and are either not acting at all, or are going along with the big corporations without discussing the wider social impact of what is happening. Since the fall of the Soviet Union it has become really unfashionable to even talk about the idea that some things can belong to society as a whole, and this is really getting in the way of this debate.

  5. Ferry Boat


    P2P music not harming Canada

    Thank god for that! I'll just sleep so well tonight.

    But hang on, what about if that music is Marilyn Manson? Won't that harm all those Canadalanders? Won't they go running around in the snow killing each other?

  6. Shaun Vizer

    Face facts..

    iTunes is popular and legal downloads of music could far outweigh illegal downloads if only record companies wanted them to.

    It is the general trend that society will prefer to be seen as doing something legal unless there is a easier way of doing something.

    Make it easy for consumers to do something and lo & behold they will follow suit, i just don't understand why record companies don't see this??

  7. Luke Wells

    Here is one reason

    I have a "proper" seperates Hi-Fi in my living room, and mp3 player is not a source option I would consider, down to the sound quality.

    I download music, that I play on my computer, but when it comes to playing on my Hi-Fi (and also in my car really) I go out and buy the real deal on CD.

    I must have 500+ REAL legal music CD's, and 25% of them or more have been purchased because I downloaded them on mp3 originally, liked the songs and decided to buy them on CD. If I had not first "tried before buying" these songs on mp3, then thats around 125 albums that I would't have bought!

  8. Charlie


    Before I got my PC I used to listen to the radio occasionally, but was never motivated enough to spend money on CDs.

    Since I've been downloading music, I've been to loads of gigs and bought a number of albums. Naturally part of this is down to getting older and having more disposable income, but having access to lots of music has been the real driving force in encouraging me to give money to the music industry.

  9. Robin

    Interestingly enough

    They fail to mention in the article that all music downloads in Canada are legal, whether you get them from iTunes or bitTorrent or wherever.

  10. Peter Lawrence

    @ Luke Wells

    Here Here!

    I second that, Luke. I download scads of music, and if I like it enough to keep it on my computer, I'll go out and buy the disc. I do keep the MP3s, however, as it's less work involved for me than deleting the files and ripping the music again. If I didn't have access to the music in the first place, I wouldn't have bought it. Here in Canada, I think the big music retailers are finally clueing in on how to keep their markets from evaporating. Prices have come down quite a bit in the last few years to the point where you can now justify getting a CD if there's only a handful of songs that you like on it. I'd like to think that it's somewhat due to the fact that Canadians are legally able to download music from p2p systems, but I could be wrong...

  11. Chris C

    More purchases

    I got into MP3s late in the game, probably late 2000 or early 2001, starting first with and then AudioGalaxy, Limewire, Kazaa, and WinMX. Last year, I ripped all of my CDs onto my computer in .OGG format, and I organized all the files I downloaded from into their own folders. That left the other-downloaded songs. I just counted, and of the music I've downloaded, I've gone out and purchased 133 CDs. I still have a lot left, but I buy them when I can afford to (and when the songs are actually available on CD [not out of print or never released on CD]). I'd go out and buy all the CDs to replace my downloads if money was no object. Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees. And since I don't listen to radio, the only CDs I buy are those to replace my downloads and others that Amazon "recommends".

  12. Dick

    @ Anonymous Coward

    Obviously you are not from the United States,

    Americans are usually very surprised when they learn there are countries where (good) education and healthcare are free...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have several CDs/DVDs that I bought as a result of downloads...

    As for those that I didn't buy, they are NOT lost sales.

    They're only lost sales if I would otherwise have bought them legitimately. Try before you buy is an attractive option and has caused me to buy some things that I otherwise wouldn't have. If I had to buy to try, I simply wouldn't, so no loss of revenue.

    It's time that oxymoronic organisations like FACT realised that these downloads are not lost sales. They're free advertising. The FUD generated by these parasitic organisations is laughable and it's time they realised how pathetic they look.

    I'm more than happy for artists to be paid for their work (if it's worth it). I'm simply not prepared to continue to line the pockets of these unnecessary middle men in suits, at the expense of both the artist and the consumer.

    Go Canada!

  14. Shakje

    Most of the tracks I download...

    I already have on a CD somewhere, but either I can't be bothered finding the CD, I want the track on my PC/MP3 player or the CD is scratched beyond repair. I got into file sharing when Kazaa ruled the world and used to download dance tracks I heard when I went out, or singles on the radio that I liked. After that I would pick up compilation CDs (mostly) that had the above on, along with other tracks I liked. I rarely bought artist albums in those days, as I found that a lot of albums I bought ended up either completely different to what I expected from the singles, or plain crap.

    Since I have accumulated most of the classic albums I've wanted over the years, and collections of tracks I want, I mostly only download tracks if I can't be bothered finding the CD really, and I now know better what albums I want (and I think that albums are a lot better than in the early 2000s/end of the 90s), but some of this is to tried and tested.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quality issues with MP3 / OGG

    The answer is FLAC (the Free Lossless Audio Codec, for the uninitiated). If one were so inclined, once could keep ones music collection in FLAC and translate as required to MP3 or OGG (e.g. for portable players). Getting around the sound quality restrictions inherent in using cheap and nasty sound cards and cables, and finding space for all those fairly chunky FLAC files, would just involve a bit of hardware investment.

    So one could download FLAC files, which are catching on, or rip borrowed CDs to FLAC, for example, rather than buying and maintaining a CD collection.

    If one were so inclined.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe there are other causes for income decline

    There are plenty of other reasons which I've never seen discussed:

    The ability to make vast sums of money from selling CDs may have been an historic anomaly. For a few years it was possible to duplicate sound production for almost no marginal cost but sell it at vast profits. The industry has grown fat on this, but now the same means of production is within the grasp of most people, it has become a tough sell!

    Visit a any shop, what do you hear? Music at zero cost.

    Visit a gym, what do you hear? Music at zero cost.

    Get in your car, turn on the stereo radio, what do you hear? Music at zero cost.

    Go home, turn on the hifi radio, what do you hear? Music at zero cost.

    People are used to getting free music - hearing a song on the radio for free but being told it will cost GBP15 for the album if you want to replay it is jarring. Getting music for free (from the internet) is more in line with what we are used to. Perhaps if the music industry didn't license out its music, it would be more scarce, valued more highly and purchased by consumers more.

    As "popular" music stations proliferate, maybe people don't feel the need to buy music when you are bound to be able to get it on some station or other.

    We know the CDs cost almost nothing to make. We know singing costs nothing (we do that in the shower), so why the big cost? Perhaps the dirty secret the industry cannot admit to (though everyone knows it) is that music isn't popular unless accompanied by vast advertising budgets. Like US elections, it isn't the quality that is important, its how much you spend promoting it.

    Perhaps the videos used to promote the music is as extreme as the industry expects to be able to push at young people without causing an outcry. Having pushed ever more stimulation at its target audience, the audience is now bored and moved onto hard core porn, which it gets free from the, er, internet.

    If your business is making money from singers singing they may actually have to do that. Few "normal" people get paid for years for work they did in the past, so they have little sympathy for those complaining that they aren't getting any more money for singing something last year. This is especially true when the complainers are seen to be multi-millionaires.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FACT, RIAA etc

    "It's time that oxymoronic organisations like FACT realised that these downloads are not lost sales."

    I'm sure they already do.

    But they can't ADMIT to it because the real purpose of both FACT and RIAA is not to collect royalties, but to keep the FACT and RIAA bosses in business.

    FACT and RIAA both need people to carry on breaking the laws of their various countries, because without them FACT and RIAA would have no reason to exist. And therefore they need those cumbersome download restrictions, even if it can be proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the musicians on whose behalf they CLAIM to be collecting would actually benefit from abolishing wholly obsolete distribution channels and going over entirely to downloads.

    If we abolished all the big record companies along with FACT and RIAA, and every artiste set up their own download site at 10 cents per track, the artistes would probably make more than they currently do. Which would be to the benefit of artistes and public alike.

  18. Steve Ringham

    @Maybe there are other causes for income decline

    "Music at zero cost"? - hearing music is free, it's just sound at that moment in time. What you pay for, in one sense, is the privilege of being able to play it at a time and in a manner of your choosing. Having the CD / vinyl / MP3 gives you this privilege. (However, if you're still paying £15 for an album, you ARE a mug.)

    I value my vinyl / CD collection because it allows me to hear without the inane drivel of some DJ and annoying adverts / jingles etc. I rip it to files so I can listen on my media player as well.

    For every millionaire (Sir Cliff?) there could be a hundred breadline musicians. If there is a market for your product, isn't it fair that you get paid for it? Jealous? That your lack of talent means your work isn't in demand year after year?

    You probably expect a free ride for everything.

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