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The Economics of P2P File-Sharing 236

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the give-and-take dept.
brajesh writes "Does P2P file-sharing really affect music sales and in what ways? According to a blog entry at "The Long Tail", a paper from David Blackburn[.pdf], a Harvard PhD student, on the economics of P2P file-sharing concludes that it does indeed depress music sales overall. But the effect is not felt evenly. The hits at the top of the charts lose sales, but the niche artists further down the popularity curve actually benefit from file-trading. Form the paper - "Artists who are unknown, and thus most helped by file sharing, are those artists who sell relatively few albums, whereas artists who are harmed by file sharing and thus gain from its removal, the popular ones, are the artists whose sales are relatively high." But then "File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records, and if the success of the mega-star artists is what drives the investment in new acts, it might reduce the incentive to invest in new talent. This is, at its heart, an empirical question which is left to future work." There is also another compilation of studies on economics of P2P."
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The Economics of P2P File-Sharing

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  • by udderly (890305) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:25AM (#14118510)

    The hits at the top of the charts lose sales, but the niche artists further down the popularity curve actually benefit from file-trading.

    From each according to his abilities; to each according to his need. Lighten up--it's a joke!

    • by eyebits (649032) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:27AM (#14118518)
      You are making Ayn roll in her grave. :)
    • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:03PM (#14119099)
      So, teen pop shiiat loses sales, but real musicians find their audience with P2P. No wonder the RIAA hates it. You can't snooker people who get to try before they buy. P2P makes it much harder to rip off children, which has been the recording industry's MO almost since Edison invented the phonograph. Don't buy CDs! [dontbuycds.org]
    • From each according to his abilities; to each according to his need.

      Yet this was the moral law that the professors and leaders and thinkers had wanted to establish all over the earth. If this is what it did in a single small town where we all knew one another, do you care to think what it would do on a world scale? Do you care to imagine what it would be like, if you had to live and to work, when you're tied to all the disasters and all the malingering of the globe? To work - and whenever any men failed

      • The answer is not in the dictum of Marx nor in the Libertarian writings of Rand, nor is it in the advances of science or medicine, because all of those remedies fail to take into account the fundamental problem that underpins all human suffering--the brokenness of the human heart. It is our condition as children of this brokenness that leads us to seek procedural solutions to a spiritual problem.

    • by cblood (323189)
      If you are doing well enough for trading to hurt... You're doing well enough.

      Why should 90 percent of the revenue go to ten percent of the artists.

      Here's to the musical middle class

      It always seemed that copyright lengths should be getting shorter, not longer. After all the pace of commerce has increased.

  • by Egregius (842820) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:26AM (#14118514)
    P2P file sharing is the right thing to do...it's socialist.
    • by h2gofast (934016)
      nothing socialist about file-sharing. socialism is government being mommy and daddy providing for needs, controlling and subsidizing unprofitable industry, and promoting mediocrity. file-sharing is breaking laws that make it tough for independent bands to compete with brittany spears, marilyn manson and whatever major act is being promoted through major media channels. This distribution model is broken, it doesn't serve the artists, the fans, or foster creativity and innovation. Take a good look at how th
      • by deaddrunk (443038)
        What rubbish. Socialism promotes nothing of the kind. It was a socialist/communist nation that put the first man into space. Hardly a mediocre achievement. Bureaucracy and inefficiency are not a uniquely socialist phenomenon as anyone who's worked for a large corporation can easily see.
        • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:23PM (#14119187) Homepage
          It was a socialist/communist nation that put the first man into space.

          Uh huh. When the Soviet Union is offered as evidence of the failure of communism the commies ;-) say that it was really a dictatorship and a poor example of communism. Now you cite it as an good example. Well which is it?

          The first man in space was put there by brilliant hardworking scientists and engineers. Too bad circumstances forced them to serve such an abomination of a government. They deserved better.
          • The first man in space was put there by brilliant hardworking scientists and engineers.

            Don't forget a blatant disregard for safety and human life, that certainly made things easier.

            • "The first man in space was put there by brilliant hardworking scientists and engineers."

              Don't forget a blatant disregard for safety and human life, that certainly made things easier.


              And which human cosmonauts or astronauts were conscripts rather than volunteers? How many of the scientists or engineers would have volunteered to go themselves? Exploration is risky, space exploration extremely high risk, yet there is no shortage of volunteers. The restrictions imposed by the state that made Soviet spac
              • by damiangerous (218679) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:18PM (#14119426)
                I'm not talking about the cosmonauts. I'm talking about the "little people" on the ground. Plesetek was the site of at least 3 fatal accidents, one of them a Soyuz explosion that killed at least 50 people. There was also the Nedelin disaster that killed 126 people. Although that was later discovered to be an ICBM accident rather than a rocket the concepts are very much the same. The Soviet system being what it was, I don't think those people had too much choice in their jobs. When you have to apply for a permit to get a new apartment or move between towns your options are rather limited.
        • It was a socialist/communist nation that put the first man into space.

          And it was a capitalist (more or less) nation that put the first man on the moon. Your point?

          Bureaucracy and inefficiency are not a uniquely socialist phenomenon as anyone who's worked for a large corporation can easily see.

          This is true; companies on the Fortune list have horrible amounts of bureaucracy.

          But the Federal govn't, being the biggest of all American employers, is even worse, from the experiences I've heard of people I work wit

      • by Yokaze (70883) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @10:53AM (#14118825)
        > socialism is government being mommy and daddy providing for needs, controlling and subsidizing unprofitable industry, and promoting mediocrity.

        No, it is not. It is what opponents associate with socialism. Especially, when phrased the way you do. If formulated less biased, it can be one form of socialism. (Statecontrolled production with social-security networks)

        > I'm not saying the music should be free, I am saying that the recording industry needs to be brought down to erect a new business model where the recording artist are the profit center, not the recording industry. Socialism my ass, this is a Revolution.

        Bringing the owning class down and to empower those people actually working in some kind of revolution for the common good is a traditional socialist position. And even one of the more radical one. Calling it business model is nothing more than a fig leaf.
      • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kjella (173770) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:02PM (#14119359) Homepage
        Well, socialism has been taken to mean many things (I feel like pulling up "civics" from Civ4). In particular, there is a social model, an economic model and a government model. The social model means that the state will provide universal healthcare and other social benefits to people that are unemployed, invalid and so on. I suppose you may call this "mommy and daddy providing for needs", economically on the basis that is it ultimately more productive for society to have people healthy and returned to the workforce even though they can not afford the treatment, and morally on the basis that everyone should be entitled to some minimum standard of living regardless of their ability to provide for themselves. You'll find that most of Europe believe quite strongly in this model.

        The economic model with state-controlled and protected industry has for the most part been abandoned as a general principle, but not entirely. Many countries have some form of public transportation, public utilities and so on that are state-owned, because it is considered easier to socially optimalize it as owners than to regulate them as monopolies. For example, it is usually better for society as a whole to have more public transportation than is economically optimal for the transport company (less pollution, less congestion, less public roads to build and maintain and so on). They have for the most part been exposed to competition, but service goals and such maintain the social goals. Even China has pretty much abandoned socialism as an economic model in favor of a market economy.

        Socialism is also a government model, where "the people" are in charge and thus there is no need for any other party. The basic lines of Marx that each worker should be represented in government, is more like a form of direct democracy than the one-party model that became the mark of communism. You also need to separate between the actual and formal government model. As an example, many parts of Europe have kings, queens but are still democracies. Just like the "People's republic of China" isn't much like a democratic republic.

        As far as the rethoric against the RIAA goes, it sounds pretty socialist to me. It's all about how the captialists (RIAA) are exploiting the workers (artists), and how they should revolt and form some sort of people's republic (no large capitalists) where the workers (artists) all get their share of the profits. Let us assume that everyone trades by p2p, and music industry as we know it today crumbles. What do you see? In the old days, artists and composers were sponsored by kings and rich men. I think an new generation of "superstars" would appear, corporate shills sponsored by large corporations with massive promotion budgets. It would not matter if they are spread around because they are nothing but concealed corporate propaganda. That is the fallacy of most revolutions, the average man has rarely come to power. More often than not, he has simply paved the way for another master to take the same place.
      • I am saying that the recording industry needs to be brought down to erect a new business model where the recording artist are the profit center, not the recording industry.

        Precisely! All heil the coming Socialist Revolution!

  • by thrills33ker (740062) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:26AM (#14118515) Homepage
    "File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records, and if the success of the mega-star artists is what drives the investment in new acts, it might reduce the incentive to invest in new talent."

    So what this is saying is, P2P helps smaller independent artists and is detrimental to large "manufactured" pop acts. Which is pretty much common sense, and is why the corporate music industry is so against it.

    The argument that "lack of investment" will produce a shortage of talent is clearly ridiculous. How many of the great, truly talented acts we all know and love were the product of "investment" by the music industry? And how many struggled in poverty for years because they loved making music, before finally being signed up by a label and exploited for all they were worth...?
    • by stubear (130454) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:45AM (#14118584)
      "How many of the great, truly talented acts we all know and love were the product of "investment" by the music industry? And how many struggled in poverty for years because they loved making music, before finally being signed up by a label and exploited for all they were worth...?"

      It's called an investment. If you don't like the way record labels are investing their money then why don't you start your own record label and show us all how it's done? Hell, why don't you answer your own question instead of simply leaving it as an assumed suggestion that your second option is the only possible answer?

      The paper's argument is correct in its analysis. If P2P helps smaller artists by giving away their work then it's goingto be extremely difficult to jump from there to asking people to pay for music they traditionally got for free. The internet has proven that pay services don't work if the service was free initially. Even the New York Times' free subscription sends many slashbots into fits of rage.
      • "It's called an investment."

        Actually, what the labels are engaged in is called rent-seeking. Something that differs from the concept of investment in several important aspects.
      • The vast majority of "investment" funds by record labels goes into promotion and antiquated distribution mechanisms. But their expensive forms of promotion are driven by the needs their particular business model.

        Without the labels as middlemen who shift 90% of the overall revenue into overhead costs, artists would need little if any outside "investment". Now that publishing music no longer technically requires centralized control, the industry should move to a system where artists do direct online sales th

      • Hell, why don't you answer your own question instead of simply leaving it as an assumed suggestion that your second option is the only possible answer?

        It's called a rhetorical question.

        The paper's argument is correct in its analysis. If P2P helps smaller artists by giving away their work then it's goingto be extremely difficult to jump from there to asking people to pay for music they traditionally got for free. The internet has proven that pay services don't work if the service was free initially.

      • Even the New York Times' free subscription sends many slashbots into fits of rage.

        Which is strange because they will happily pay for most other forms of fiction...

        Seriously, the "NYT" has far more serious problems at the moment than the way they deliver their product, such as the product itself. If there was ever a time to open up to keep as many readers as they can, it is now.

      • Now the funniest part of "Hell, why don't you answer your own question instead of simply leaving it as an assumed suggestion that your second option is the only possible answer?" is probably that you make the same thing. That's what we call rhetorical questioning... want a drawing or you're bright enough to understand?
      • Missing the point (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CustomDesigned (250089) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @11:51AM (#14119053) Homepage Journal
        If you don't like the way record labels are investing their money then why don't you start your own record label and show us all how it's done?

        Talking about not hearing the other sides argument. The point is that small artists don't *need* a record label any more. So we don't care how they invest their money - except that suing grandmothers doesn't seem like the best use.

        We also have the classic "free" vs. "free" equivocation. I don't want to get music for free. I want to support the artist. But I much prefer to buy albums directly from the artists. And I hate stupid restrictions. "Liberian Acapella" is one of my favorites. They sing at churches and sell their self produced albums. I have many albums from Magnatune [magnatune.com] (a "record label" that does distribution only). Another favorite is David Bellugi from Italy.

        That said, I am a copyright Nazi. I confiscate and destroy illegally copied RIAA music whenever I find it, give my teenage daughters a lecture on "playing by their rules if your going to listen to their music", and threaten to take the $3000 out of their bank account if they get caught distributing copies (I realize the lawsuits are for online distribution, but the principal is the same). Of course, the fact that I can't stand most of the music has *nothing* to do with this...

        What I really need is some official RIAA materials on copyright violation, so that we can be clear that the copyright Nazi thing is part and parcel of RIAA music, and not something I am making up.


      • The internet has proven that pay services don't work if the service was free initially.

        Ah, that explains why the iTunes Music Store has failed so miserably. [vnunet.com]

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:59AM (#14118636) Journal
      "File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records, and if the success of the mega-star artists is what drives the investment in new acts, it might reduce the incentive to invest in new talent." So what this is saying is, P2P helps smaller independent artists and is detrimental to large "manufactured" pop acts. Which is pretty much common sense, and is why the corporate music industry is so against it.
      Indeed. What it is saying, is that small acts may no longer actually need that investment and backing from the labels in order to make a decent living off their music. Small acts may now be able to make it on their own... and at the very least they will not have to sell themselves into slavery in order to get their music published. That's why the industry is so much against it, because it just might make them obsolete.
    • by twitter (104583) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:59AM (#14118637) Homepage Journal
      What he's really saying is that you have to suppress all other acts to have the mega-stupid star sell millions of albums. Without a choke point, such as broadcast radio of the 20th century, there is no ability to focus pop culture and it drifts where it will.

      This will be good for everyone but the current three monopoly publishers. Popular taste will do a better job of finding talent than payolla in the form of coke and whores. A more distributed music distribution system will be more competitive for artists and the money that now flows into a few hands will flow into many. The job will get done and people will still pay the piper.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Agreed. The problem is that there are many problems. One the profit model for current music sales is completely misrepresented here. Case in point record labels see singles as produced commercials for artists to promote their live shows (for validation check out the hairband videos of the 80s-90s they are commercials for concerts). Hence, labels make money from singles/records artist from concerts.

        Labels don't understand the critisms like those posted here. Labels see the agreement with the "artist" or "ban
      • 1. Some songs take a while to "grow" on you. Repeatition won't make bad music any better, however, it can make mediocre music acceptable and can make acceptable music seem great -- But good music is usually instantly recognizable.

        2. Payola + coke + whores = fun parties
  • Hopes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nnnneedles (216864) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:27AM (#14118517)
    Hopefully this will move the industry somewhat away from acts such as Britney Spears (which traditionally have much higher profit margins and lower risk than smaller acts) and towards a business model that is wrapped around greater diversity and the continual sale of older music (which they usually drop the ball on fast, in order to focus the public on the newer mega acts).

    Maybe the records industry could somehow start promoting clusters of artists and whole genres instead of one mega artist? Hmm..

    • Dont you mean "suck dry"?
    • by tomcres (925786) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @10:14AM (#14118682)
      They should spend their money scouting for the next Pink Floyd rather than trying to manufacture more Britney Spears. Think about it, Britney Spears may sell millions of records, but for how long? 10 years max? Pink Floyd was selling platinum or better for almost 30 years. Plus, you don't have to do as much promotion. People will buy Pink Floyd because it's good music, and it has appeal across generations and genders. Britney Spears' audience is so narrow you could fit it through a pinhole--adolescent and pre-adolescent girls.

      I think the industry's biggest problem is a lack of diversity. Right now, everything on mainstream radio sounds exactly the same. Even ten years ago, radio was still crap, but at least you could differentiate the music better. Personally, I rarely even listen to the radio at all anymore, and when I do, it's a classic rock station.

      Record companies want to go with what's "safe" these days. No one wants to take a risk on signing and promoting an artist that's "different." However, the big rewards come with big risk. I really wish these huge, billionaire conglomerates like WEA and SonyBMG would gamble a little bit more. They're actually losing a lot of good acts who are moving to smaller labels like Koch and Sanctuary. Audium (a Koch label) has become one of the best labels in country music by signing artists who got cut by the majors, like Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, and Dale Watson. Sanctuary is now home to the likes of Iron Maiden and Morrissey, two of England's best sellers ever, who still are putting out good albums. It just kills me how labels will not settle for "just" platinum anymore. You have to go multi-platinum to be a success now. I remember how Capitol was getting disappointed with Garth Brooks when his albums started selling "only" two million copies. This is the same Garth Brooks who single-handedly saved Capitol/EMI from bankruptcy with No Fences and Ropin' the Wind, each of which sold something like over 10 million two consecutive years. He had the top 3 albums in the U.S. for over a year. But if he's only two-times platinum and not ten-times platinum, then he's no good to Capitol! This is the kind of moronic thinking that drives the recording industry. It is pure, unadulterated greed. So much greed that it completely clouds any sensibility they might have.

    • by Rahga (13479)
      "Maybe the records industry could somehow start promoting clusters of artists and whole genres instead of one mega artist? Hmm.."

      The Highwaymen, Travelling Wilburys, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Los Super Seven... ?
  • by Graham1982 (933841) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:29AM (#14118532)
    Perhpas this is a good thing in the sense that the lesser known artist has a chance to rise up and even out with the more popular artist. Most of the songs I download are not mainstream anyway, why? Because I can turn on the radio or the TV if I want to hear those artists. P2P gives me a chance to search out further for something that might really inspire me. Just because your not on MTv does not mean your music blows. The quality of mainstream music is starting to wear me down lately anyway.
    • Arctic Monkeys (Score:2, Informative)

      by 16K Ram Pack (690082)
      A band called The Arctic Monkeys recently had a number 1 in the UK as a result of engagement via the internet and giving away music in that way.

      It's now shown that it can be done.

      It's also one of the few number 1s that I'd rate as a fine single in about a decade.

  • by Ckwop (707653) <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:32AM (#14118538) Homepage

    "Nothing, not all the armies of the world, can stop an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo

    P2P is here. It's not going away and you can't even legislate it out of existance. For right or wrong, there is nothing the various copyright industries can do except adapt to the change. Everything else is just hot air.

    Simon

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @10:44AM (#14118793) Journal
      It's been a few years since I read Les Miserables (a translation - my French isn't good enough for the original), but I seem to remember that the line you quoted was said by the leader of the revolution a couple of days before he and all of his friends were killed...
  • Bring the niche (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bbzzdd (769894) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:32AM (#14118539)

    Artists who are unknown, and thus most helped by file sharing

    For the past 50-years the only way to be a "successful" musician was to write songs 2:50 long and sell 500,000 records. Ever wonder why everything on the radio sounds the same? If an artist can't break even, they're pretty much worthless in the eye of the label.

    Legitimate online digital distribution of music could possibly replace the notion of rock stars with micro-stars in their respected genres. There just needs to be some sort of way to market these niche artists online so the cream rises to the top. A group who could make 80% off of their recordings is not so bad off considering the average signed artist only sees 5 - 15% per record.

    • Re:Bring the niche (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @11:13AM (#14118911)
      > There just needs to be some sort of way to market these niche artists online

      You mean something like... a record label?

      Naah, that won't work. After reading this thread I've learned that running a record label involves a lot of being sucking blood and fucking people who don't deserve it. Oh, and being fat. Apparently musicians run on pure sucrose and signing them just turns you into some sort of serial vampire rapist. It's like Anne Rice on Viagra and corn syrup.

      • Well then you should check out places like magnatune and others so you know that it isn't always true (www.magnatune.com).

        I purchased Ehrin Starks (sp) there. Great piano and chelo (sp) music. He got 50% of the money I paid. I got to download the music free- see what I liked- then pay a reasonable amount ($12 I think) and get a hard CD in the mail a few days later.
    • For the past 50-years the only way to be a "successful" musician was to write songs 2:50 long and sell 500,000 records.

      That is patently false.

      For a long time, the longest songs that were played on the radio were max 3.5~4 minutes because that is all that would fit on a 45 or 78 record. Even today, stations will fade most songs out after 4.5 minutes max of play.

      Example: When Zepplin's "Stairway To Heaven" came out in the 70's, at eight minutes, it was the longest popular song that got radio playtime. It was

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:37AM (#14118560) Homepage Journal
    When the rest of the 'food chain' below her benefits, who cares if the one at the top, with more then they need anyway, misses out on a few potential sales.

    Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales.
    • by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @10:24AM (#14118714) Homepage Journal
      the headline says it's provable: Harvard PhD student, on the economics of P2P file-sharing concludes that it does indeed depress music sales overall

      • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @03:21PM (#14119945)

          the headline says it's provable

        No. There is something you must realize about the social sciences: they are not *hard* science. Very little in the social sciences can ever be "proven" or "disproven", because there is rarely a control in any study. You can't force people to naturally behave some way and use that as a control -- it is logically-impossible (and certainly in contradiction to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle).

        Hypothesis-testing occurs on large datasets, but those datasets are generated by behavior which can never be simultaneously fully-controlled and fully-natural. Hence, the hypothesis is not fully-testable, unless it is so general as to be meaningless.

        Economics is a powerful study, and I use its mindset all the time, but I would never call it a "science". It's a pseudo-science; a branch of applied mathematics and statistics that bases itself on uncontrollable natural processes. As such, "proof" never occurs, but strong suggestions (e.g. correlations, tendencies, etc.) do.
    • Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales.

      That's an incredibly bogus argument if I've ever heard one. What you say could apply to any service related business. Is it OK to say, force a dentist to work on somebody at gunpoint? After all, he wouldn't *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' sales. How about stealing information fro
      • >What you say could apply to any service related business.
        This is about the most wrongheaded/duplicitous argument i've seen in a long time.

        >Is it OK to say, force a dentist to work on somebody at gunpoint?
        No. This is clearly a stupid analogy. You are robbing the dentist of his time and effort.

        >How about stealing information from a database that somebody took time and money to collect and collate?
        This is analogous, yes. What exactly is wrong with it?
        I notice you promote a website monetizing freely p
    • Remember, *nothing* was stolen during the p2p transaction, so she didnt actually *lose* anything, it is only a reduction in the vague concept of 'potential' ( i.e. unprovable ) sales.

      When every anyone argues that nothing is stolen, meaning that nothing is physically taken, they always seem to overlook one key factor...the person involved in the acquisition unquestionably now has something of value in their possession. I'd like to see someone justify the notion that by virtue of the fact that Persion A has
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:38AM (#14118561) Homepage Journal
    What this means is that being a musician will no longer be a multi-million dollar a year job. It will be a job that pays only thousands of dollars a year, the same thing "the rest of us" get paid. And it also means that more people will be able to be musicians, as opposed to now where being a musician for a living is very difficult. I'll definitely take many musicians making many songs and each making enough money to pay rent over a few musicians making a few songs and making enough to pay everyone's rent. Ask yourself which of these two makes a better society.
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rinikusu (28164)
      As a musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society. Take your utopian level playing field and shove it up your ass.

      As a musician, I understand that P2P can be 100% instrumental in building marketshare, mindshare, and building an audience base that I can exploit by making touring a potentially profitable activity, rather than slumming it out on a couch or in the van night after night of playing two-bit shitholes. Using the internet, myspace in particular, my music reaches a pretty dec
      • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

        by PunkOfLinux (870955)
        I've seen some great musicians go completely without notice.
        Here in the states, they only want you to buy the music that THEY can make a profit on. They don't want you buying anything other than the top sellers, so that they can sell more, and make MORE people think that the CD must be awesome. The notion of "It sells well, so it MUST be better" is bullshit, but society buys into it. Once we get rid of that, things will be just fine, because people will actually find new music they like, rather than this
        • I've seen a bunch of great acts disappear, as well. And I've seen a bunch of acts toil their entire lives in a little corner of mediocrity, self-indulgent in their "We'll never sell-out" when the fact was: no one was buying anyway.

          Here in the states, we have a system where you can CHOOSE the path you wish to go down. There are plenty of pretty-boy/girl bands with almost zero talent out there, but get produced, glossied up, some dance moves, and sell 10 million records. There's also quite a few of those
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @10:40AM (#14118776)

        As a musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society. Take your utopian level playing field and shove it up your ass.

        As a non-musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society. Lets abolish all copyrights and motivate musicians into making music by raking them over hot coals if they don't. If they complain, let's remind them that it was their idea own idea to shove the utopian ideal of a level playing field up someones ass.

        Or you can give a fuck about making a better society and I can give a fuck about it, in which case we both might get a better deal, or at least conduct a more constructive conversation. This is what the various copyright industries never seem to get: if you don't give a fuck when it's not your ass on the line, don't except anyone else to give a fuck when it is.

        • and if I was a powerful corporation with a lot to lose if copyrights were abolished, here is how I would answer to you:

          As a powerful corporation I don't give a fuck about making society better. I only give a fuck about removing appearences of choices from the public view because as a powerful corporation I make more money when there are fewer choices available. No matter what kind of entity I am - a diamond cartel, an oil cartel, a music distributor, a pharmaceutical a newspaper or a giant search engine,
      • It's that incentive to over-achieve, or even getting "lucky" that appeals to many people.

        If that is what is needed to motivate creativity, that is a very sad statement. It is even worse than that: people who count on getting "lucky" as their motivation are deluded and living in a fantasy world disconnected from reality. It is the same as buying a lottery ticket: one out of a million may win big, but for all practical purposes you won't. To base your life on the slim chance that you might win the lot

      • "It's like people who bitch about windows, and yet how much money did MS make from Windows last year? Someone's buying it."

        Yeah, the OEMs are forced to install it and their customers are forced to buy it with their new PCs. There is no choice, as everyone here knows.

        So I don't know whether that's a bad analogy or not - radio stations are forced by the Recording Industry to play a tightly controlled selection of tracks to maximise exposure of a handful of mega-artistes.

        Perhaps the fact that people a
        • This is just so false. Radio stations are not forced to play anything specific. They can play whatever they want, and many local college stations do just that. You may be confused by the fact that disk jockeys are forced by their employers to follow a specific playlist. Also, you are even wrong on the Windows bit. OEMs, Dell for example, often preinstall Linux or no OS at all. People just seem to buy the Windows PCs more.
      • As a musician, I really don't give a fuck about making a better society.

        That's too bad, since you have to live in it yourself.

        I'm a musician and a programmer too. And though you imply that the programming business is like the music business it's not. In fact, the very reason you and I are making money programming and struggling on the side with music is because society does support a giant population of living wage programmers, but only a handful of lucky overpaid musicians.

        So take your completely unreali
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhotoBoy (684898) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:38AM (#14118562)
    "File sharing is reducing the probability that any act is able to sell millions of records"

    How about file sharing is allowing people to sample the artificial crap the music industry churns out these days and they decide not to waste their money on the product?
    • To sample out crap you don't need to infringe on anyone's copyrights. Heck, radio can be used for this quite well and it is 100 percent legal.

      Wouldn't it be just wonderful if everyone on P2P networks stopped downloading/uploading/illegaly distributing copyrighted works? Instead of violating copyrights by sharing popular products (be it music, video, books or software) those P2P users could be sharing works that are meant to be shared by the authors/distributors. Small music bands, small software companie
  • by Myself (57572) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:38AM (#14118563) Journal
    I particularly like the Fairshare [sourceforge.net] proposal floated by Ian Goldberg, in which you could "invest" in promising new artists. It gives incentive to get in on the ground floor with a little-known artist, rather than to ride the coattails of a megastar.

    Any alternative would be better than the current system.
  • I couldn't care less about not having mega star marketeed artists... So this must be good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2005 @09:50AM (#14118605)
    P2P is breaking the vicious cycle where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It's the only reason all the **AA execs are frothing blood at the mouth about it.

    I thought everyone already knew that.
  • No matter what the real impact is, the demonization has been in ful force for years. that cannot be easily undone.

    As a wise marketing/business teacher told me once, the masses are the asses, they follow the loudest megaphone.

  • That's cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028)
    I guess it shows how cool the P2P effect is, it makes huge fuckin stars sell less CD's and undergroud ones sell a bit more.

    Isn't it what anyone (except the big artists and music companies) would want to see? As someone say, that's very socialist, it's like the tax on fortune and wellfare, or whatever you call that, takes lots from the rich people and gives some to the poor ones.

    Big stars all suck according to me anyway, so fuck them and don't try to make us cry because Madonna is gonna sell a few thousand l
  • The Long Tail,

    As previously discussed on /. [slashdot.org]
  • Entertainment is a zero-sum game: the market only spends so much on it, and after that it's a fight between the music labels, concerts, sports, movies, entertainment electronics, etc.

    Since P2P provides an alternative to big-budget advertising as a way to promote music, it helps the lesser-known acts. That has to come from somewhere, and where it comes from is the big names that owe their success to marketing.

  • by putko (753330) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @10:21AM (#14118704) Homepage Journal
    The fact that the big hits lose sales due to P2P is bad for some labels, and not for others.

    E.g. Sony has a lot of big-name hits. So P2P == evil.
    Koch Records has a lot of smaller-selling indies. P2P != evil.

    However, I have a deep suspicion that RIAA is run by the likes of SONY, and not the ones like Koch.

    Also, musicians are keenly aware of the differences: to get on Koch, you pretty much have to have your album finished and mixed. They produce and distribute it, and give you a big percentage. Other ones front tons of money for production and advertising, and give back a smaller percentage -- and they are the ones that stand to lose the most from P2P.

    The most interesting thing in all of music these days are mixtapes and mashups. They are both illegal to sell -- no copyrights are cleared, so you'll hear samples, beats and so on from entirely different groups. You can now buy them over the web, or download them from P2P.
  • P2P does not help unknown artists the way people think it does. I don't see where it helps unknown artists at ALL. You are better off posting your unknown music to a music site like MacJams and signing with CDBaby and getting your music on iTunes. Give away a song or two, get people to listen to your music, and they might like you enough to check out your songs on iTunes. If I'm going to give some of my songs away, I'm going to do it on a web site where I can promote it myself. Sharing your music via P
  • by FruFox (911705) <fruvous&reddra,com> on Saturday November 26, 2005 @11:31AM (#14118980) Homepage
    A few points here :

    1. True, filesharing might reduce the incentive to invest in new acts. But it definately reduces the need. If you don't need millions of dollars to launch your album, just a laptop and a podcasting site, then who needs investment? I think what will happen is that the promotional aspects of the music biz will survive in a substantially reduced form (after all, people still need to hear about you!) but the whole production and distribution megalith will go the way of the 8-track.

    2. I agree, though, that P2P itself means next to nothing to a small unknown artist. Nobody is going to type your name into Limewire if they have never heard of you, obviously. Internet radio and podcasting are muhc more meaningful and useful tools for such artists. You get a podcaster to listen to your music, they play it for people, those peopel go to your website, etc.

    3. It's said a lot, but it bears repeating : even Britney Spears makes only pennies per CD. The big name artists make all their money on touring. So there's no reason to worry about the ten cents you might be 'stealing' from Britney if you download a song. If you love her and want to support her, go to her concerts, buy her clothes, her perfumes, whatever. She gets a lot more money out of that.

    Essentially, the music industry has reacheed the point where it is almost completely parisitical in nature. And like any parasite, it wants to control its host, and fears the light of day. Right now, they exploit the fact that the people and most importantly the legislators don't really grasp the issue at all. When you say to someone "Should they be allowed to steal our music?" and they know nothing of what is truly going on, it's hard to blame them for saying "Gee, I guess not!"

    But we don't have to worry about that. This revolution requires no propaganda on our side. With every MP3 player, every iPod, every DVD player sold, our view sells itself. Eventually the RIAA and its bloodsucking ilk will be reduced to the level of rambling lunatic old men defending their collections of old cans and newspapers with bloodthirsty vehemence, oblivious to the fact that nobody wants them any more.
  • Observation use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tfcdesign (667499) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:20PM (#14119172) Journal
    My friend say that when he downloads, he ends up getting songs he wouldnt buy in the first place. He also feels that many of the songs inspire him to either buy from iTunes or Amazon.

    Although, he prefers to buy used because he thinks that the music industry has bigger issues than online file trading - such as controlled product marketing (marketing what it thinks is good music), the recent recession, an increase of used music sales, and an overall poor quality of the bands the music industry choose to promote.

    Ultimately these guys are the middle men. THey jack up the price for the interest of the middle men, not the artist.

    Perfect examples are the cost of the CD compared to the LP - and the forth coming increase of iTunes song prices.
  • If we were really talking about the economics of P2P then we would bring in the other half. You've got revenues and you've also got cost. If P2P reduces revenue but reduces cost even greater than the profit - which is the margin between the two - will increase.

    Without evaluating the effect of P2P on cost you're really not able to say anything about the economic effect of P2P at all.

    -stormin
  • Before, to get known by the people, an artist had to INVEST lots of money. The recording companies provided that, in exchange for a VERY HIGH return of investment.

    Now, the recording companies are not able to invest in low-profile musicians, but these musicians DON'T NEED THEM TO. Because they have file sharers and Indy websites to do the work.

    I don't remember if 50 years ago there were radio or TV shows dedicated to getting unknown musicians to be heard by the public, but now anyone can go to these indepen
  • Factoring in the fact that a more leveled popularity exposes more people to more different types of music, making them more educated and therefore more useful in other fields.
    Therefore the lost revenues directly from the music sale is won back in overall "productivity" of those people...?

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade

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