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Music Lessons 4

Music Lessons är en undersökning och rapportserie från KTH som gjordes 2005 och i ett paper till en konferens, The Downloaders – Who They Are and What They Are Doing, presenteras upgifter om nedladdning och vilka som laddar ner (den är publicerad på engelska):

A common method to estimate the effects of file sharing is to directly ask those users of Internet who are practicing downloading and file sharing. Here follows results from some user studies.

1. RIIA report says that 23% do not buy CDs because of P2P. But the drop only for audiotapes, CD singles, vinyl records and music videos. CD sales up 3%. [12]
2. 14% say that they stopped buying, 34% buy more and 52% like before. So 86% of people downloading buy like before or more and 14% by less. [13]
3. 81% say their purchases remain the same or more. 19% buy less. 84% informs themselves on the net about music, their favourites and how to purchase. Half of them had purchased CD on the basis of this information a third have changed genre. [14]
4. A later study showed that among those who are downloading music monthly or more often, a majority (62 %) answered that the downloading had no effect on their purchase of music. 28% said that they buy less and 10% said that they buy more. [15] 72% of people downloading buy like before or more and 28% by less.

So even if 3 of 4 down loaders say that the buy music like before or more, there seems to be a small but not negligible negative effect on sales. How strong this effect is in reality is difficult to say. It seems that this kind of self-estimation is not always in harmony with other independent measures.

It is for example often said that those who use Internet watch less TV. And if we ask users, especially heavy users of Internet, they say that they watch much less television than before [16]. But looking at audience figures collected by people meters or other time use studies the decline of the TV audience after the introduction of Internet is not that strong or even in some countries, like Sweden [17], hard to find.


Today 70 percent of Swedes listen to music on a weekly basis. Two of three have access to Internet in their homes, and half of them know how to download music from Internet. 20 percent are regularly listening to music on Internet and 7 percent are using P2P technology. This percentage is growing quickly as the broadband connections are increasing. Among university students 34 percent are using P2P technology for music consumption.

Down loaders are in many ways active Internet users with high technical skills. File sharing is only one of many activities they use Internet for. Even if there are down loaders in all ages the majority of them, especially the heavy users, are young males.

If the annihilation theory was correct MP3 downloading would have resulted in a CD sales decline during 1999 and 2000, when Napster became popular, but that did not happen until later. And still later when an increasing number of people are taking part in file sharing there should be a continuous drop in sales but that did not happen. 2004 and 2005 sales are increasing but this time people more and more are not buying music in ordinary shops but online using the MP3 format. According to Pew (2005) 34% of current music down loaders say that they now use paid services [21]. In our studies corresponding figures are 46% (representative sample) and 28-35% among students. That is a higher percentage than among those who are not file shares. And as has happened before in media history, the new technology leads to a new market, not just a substitute market.

The econometric studies could not find any overall significant effects of file sharing on music sales, but some studies found effects among younger down loaders. The user studies showed also that there is a smaller group who say that they buy less music but the majority (80 – 85 %) answered that their purchases remain the same or more.

Music file sharing can then not explain the CD sales drop after year 2000. What happened, among other things, was a change of music format from CD to MP3 and the music industry was too late and not sensitive enough to respond to this change.

However, there seems to be some people, mostly young without money, that do not buy music but download. It is mostly not a lost purchase, even if the amount of music is huge in the networks, because they will not buy anyway. The music interests of these ”Free riders” are also leaving their marks on the peer-to-peer networks where popular music for teenagers and younger kids are dominating [22].

The surveys give indications that there are several groups of people with different characteristics downloading and what is still needed is a more in-depth study in combi-nation with a longitudinal user study where the individuals can be followed over time.

But file sharing should not only be considered as an additional media for music consumption. P2P technology will serve as an important tool for empowerment of individual music consumers. He or she will enter the role as an aggregator in the sense that a personal collection of tunes may more easily be composed. There is also a potential for each consumer to become a supplier or mediator of music, including adding personal dimensions to standardised products. Translations of Japanese animated films are one such an example, producing subtitles for films that not yet have been released in a certain country in another one. The consumer may turn into aggregator in the ripping process, where e.g. a film or a TV-program is adapted for the unauthorised distribution on Internet.

Bloggat: Swartz,
Borgarmedia: EX, IDG1, 2, 3, 4, Ny Teknik1, 2, 3,
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