Friday, April 24, 2009

Study finds pirates 10 times more likely to buy music

Here is a really interesting article on music piracy. It proves what I've been arguing for a long time: music peer-to-peer software can actually be a very useful promotion tool for musicians.

Many people who download music for free or illegally are just previewing. If they like what they hear, they're likely to go buy a future release, a T-shirt or a concert ticket. The perfect example for me: my favorite band, Third Eye Blind. My friend Luke originally burnt copies of all three CDs for me, but since then, I have bought a real copy of each, seen them in concert 11 times (soon to be 14), bought two T-shirts and a tote bag, promoted them to many of my friends and am eagerly counting down the days until I can buy their upcoming 4th album (late June!!!). So forgive me for accepting a burnt copy of Blue six years ago.

In fact, I just did a quick check through iTunes and I discovered 23 out of my top 37 favorite bands either through burnt CDs or downloading a few tracks off the internet. I spend hundreds of dollars on shows, merch and physical CDs, so I don't feel guilty about using the internet to get a little sneak peek at a band. If the music is good, I will support them next time they play a show in town. And if they suck, I wouldn't have spent money on that CD anyway, so no harm done.

The problem is, the RIAA is run by a bunch of idiots who refuse to work with the internet. They can sue music fans, but it will never solve the issue. The internet and P2P networks are not going away. They need to work with technology and find a way to promote bands with it. It is essentially free advertising, after all.

This study proves it all. People who are downloading music illegally are (for the most part) also willing to shell out a few bucks for music they love. And people who aren't using P2P networks or torrents probably just don't like music enough to buy it either.

If only I were president of the RIAA.


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