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Why the music industry may gain from free downloading – The role of sampling

Written By: RSmaster on January 21, 2010 One Comment

Product Description
This digital document is a journal article from International Journal of Industrial Organization, published by Elsevier in 2006. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Media Library immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.

Downloading digital products for free may harm creators and intermediaries because consumers may no longer buy the version for sale. However, as… More >>

Why the music industry may gain from free downloading – The role of sampling

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One Response to “Why the music industry may gain from free downloading – The role of sampling”

  1. T. Hart says on: 21 January 2010 at 2:49 pm


    This article is complete garbage – I paid 10 dollars for it, but if the authors really believe what they are saying, it should have been free!

    Basically they are saying that users should be able to download illegally because that allows them to `sample’ the music. This is garbage if people download illegally they `own’ the music via theft and there is no incentive to purchase it.

    But of course, without any theft being involved, users can sample music by

    * listening to the radio

    * checking out the music (often full tracks) on the bands myspace page or website

    * checking out excerpts on iTunes and Amazon etc etc etc.

    There is no argument that can be made that users need to `own’ tracks through illegal downloading in order to `sample’ them.

    Very bizarrely, the authors seem to believe that users will consider an `original’ as superior to a `copy’ of a file. I have no idea why any rational person would think this, because digital copies can be every bit as good as the original. They don’t degrade when a copy is made of a copy in the way that tape does. And you can download lyrics and album art too. So there is no `benefit’ to the original in a free-for-all, digital piracy world.

    They make blatantly false statements such as “some consumers with an intermediate interest in music first download and then buy the corresponding song or album if they like what they downloaded. These consumers would not buy if P2P were not available”. This is complete nonsense – generally speaking, users can check out tracks on the bands website or myspace page and excerpts on iTunes and Amazon.com so there is no reason to need P2P for `sampling’.

    Also, folks, people buy books without having read much of it – they might have read a few pages on amazon, and they might have read a review in the papers. But then they take that plunge and buy it – that’s generally what happens in a capitalist society! And nobody seems that think that is a problem – but somehow, the authors are arguing that not owning the whole product illegally prior to purchasing it is a problem in the music industry? Excuse me?

    Another blatantly false statement is “Without downloading consumers do not have any information and therefore can only buy at random.” – oh, except for the fact that users can check out tracks on the bands website or myspace page so the purchasing is not random, and again, there is no reason to need P2P.

    A basic problem the authors have is that they apply economic models to a situation where they absolutely don’t apply. There is no accounting for the fact that with P2P, users can choose between either purchasing a product or having exactly the same product for free so the normal rules of economics don’t apply.

    Yet another of their blatantly false statements is that “because of sampling consumers find a better match to their tastes and are willing to pay more” – this doesn’t correlate with the fact that as P2P has increased, CD sales have declined, so obviously they are wrong – if they weren’t, CD sales would be increasing because of all the `sampling’.

    As the final idiocy, they conclude by saying the illegal P2P does not damage the music industry “because consumers can make more informed purchasing decisions because of sampling and are willing to spend for the original although they could consume the download for free”. This ignores the fact that if people have downloaded the music they already `own’ the file (albeit through theft) and they generally aren’t willing to then pay for a copy – this is borne out by the fact that P2P has increased whilst CD sales have declined (and legal downloads have not taken up the slack). Very clearly, the authors are completely wrong in their assumptions. Their model does not fit what has actually happened in the world, and this is because

    a) consumers can currently get products for free that are the same quality as the original

    b) people are basically selfish and they choose `free’ over paying money if they have the opportunity

    c) there is currently no mechanism to prevent this happening

    This is shoddy work that ignores basic, observable facts about the world and applies economic models that have absolutely no bearing on the issue of piracy.

    Do not pay 10 dollars for this article! It should be given away as a `sample’ (ho ho!). Not that it contains any sensible information, but it might give you a good laugh.

    Rating: 1 / 5

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