P2P downloading - not all bad?

The Canadian Recording Industry Association has submitted an interesting study on P2P downloading and its effect on the music industry to the CRTC. Once heralded as the downfall of CD sales, new statistics show that downloading is not a major factor behind consumers' decisions to buy less music (cost and lack of interest in new releases are the biggest reasons). The study showed that people who do download through P2P services often buy that same music.

It's quite an enlightening study because it counters the claims that major record labels and recording industry associations have been making for years. While no one would argue that P2P downloads have had an effect on the recording industry, it seems that the detrimental effects have been overestimated. Perhaps now the major labels will spend more effort promoting unique artists and examining cost-for-value issues.

That being said, I will be eternally frustrated by the people who spout "record companies make too much money" as an excuse for downloading and rarely purchasing music they like. While major labels do make a nice profit from every sale, by not purchasing music, people are not only affecting the record company and performer, but the writers, producers and studio musicians who work on an album. They are the forgotten artists in this whole debate, who can't try to recoup their losses through tours and merchandise sales. Not to mention the impact on independent record labels who are working to promote diverse music, and need to make a profit to continue their work.

See lawyer Michael Geist's article about the study (found via Saskboy). It's interesting that the CRIA hasn't posted information about the poll on their website yet. The top news item listed today (even though it isn't the most recent one) reads: "Music sales in Canada fall 4 percent in 2005: downward trend resumes as international body calls on Canada to act on copyright reform and curb illegal file swapping".

March 28 edit: It seems that in the past few days the CRIA has posted the submission on their website, dated March 15 (which is the submission date, not the date the news item was posted on the website). The title, however, CRIA Submission to the CRTC - Review of Commercial Radio Policy, does not allude to the interesting findings in the report, so I'm skeptical about how many people will click on the link.
Pollara, the firm that conducted the poll on behalf of the CRIA, has fired back at Michael Geist, calling him "impertinent and presumptuous". Read his response here (found via BoingBoing).

Technorati tags: , , , , ,