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New Zealand Shows Music Piracy Boosts Sales 320

vik writes "According to This NZ news article it appears local music is being boosted by piracy. Strangely, their Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Judith Tizard, supports this when she warns that "... while sales of local music are high, so are illegal copies of New Zealand albums." Unfortunately as always, government bodies don't seem to be able to make the connection even when it stares them in the face."
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New Zealand Shows Music Piracy Boosts Sales

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  • by mOoZik ( 698544 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:07AM (#7714660) Homepage
    Correlation is not causation.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Not always. Take, for example, the correlation of unshowered, pasty-white Slashbots and "not getting the sex." Yeah.
    • by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:29AM (#7714738)
      True, but irrelevant. Consider:

      If the availability of free music causes people to buy music, the studios shouldn't try to stop it because it's helping them.

      If buying lots of music causes downloading lots of music, the studios shouldn't try to stop it because they'd be attacking their best customers.

      If there's no causation either way, then the studios are wasting money trying to stop it since it has no bearing on their bottom line.

      Any way you slice it, this suing of children and grandmothers is pointless, a PR disaster, and ultimately suicidal. Whether the campaign works, fails, or has no effect, the studios LOSE.
      • Insightful? What the hell are you on about?

        If the availability of free music causes people to buy music, the studios shouldn't try to stop it because it's helping them. The opposite of that is "If the availability of free music causes people NOT to buy music," not "If buying lots of music causes downloading lots of music." If free music causes people NOT to buy music, the industry should do everything it can to stop free music. If buying lots of music causes downloading lots of music, they shouldn't tr
    • 1) Piracy
      2) ???
      3) Profit!
    • Quick, somebody tell the record companies. I know they'll understand right away.

      This is called a COUNTEREXAMPLE. The RIAA argues that piracy causes sales to drop. This article contradicts that posit.

      Way to get modded to 5 on a really banal sound bite.
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happystink ( 204158 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:09AM (#7714667)
    How does this stuff get put on the main page? This is a 4 paragraphs or so article just saying that local music is popular, and mentions that piracy of the music is up too. How is this in any way proof or causal? Dear submitter, here is what is staring you in the face with this tiny, tiny article: Piracy happens more for bands that people like than bands they don't like. If a band becomes more popular, piracy will increase. To attribute some weird "the popularity must be because of the piracy, duh!" idea to this is ludicrous, and crazy illogical. God I hate myself for reading slashdot, especially on a saturday night.
    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Duckman5 ( 665208 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:14AM (#7714686)
      Even better is that the person whose whose words are being used to "prove" this causational relationship doesn't seem to think there is a think that it exists. Instead, she seems to be saying that even though sales are up, "piracy" is still a problem. Not the following quote:

      But Tizard warns that while sales of local music are high, so are illegal copies of New Zealand albums.

      She says piracy and copying of CDs and cassettes is estimated to cost the music industry $40 million a year.


      I guess it is just a bit of wishful thinking and selective reading on the submitters part.
      • Not sure how you got modded as a troll, weird. And the wild thing that just drives me nuts about it is that the submitter is like "haha stupid idiots can't see the pattern in front of their eyes", when there is obviously NO provable causal relationship, and it's the submitter who is projecting a pattern onto where there simply isn't one.
    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

      by general_re ( 8883 )
      And here I was, thinking I would get a real study - perhaps a little economics, maybe some demographics, possibly a well-constructed survey or two. Something, anything that justifies the headline on this thing. Instead, I discovered that you could have just as easily slapped this headline on top of the goatse.cx guy and come up with something almost as meaningful, content-wise.

      Way to go, Slapdash. Two thumbs down.

    • by pisco_sour ( 722645 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:27AM (#7714733) Homepage
      First off, I do agree with that article being, well, not an article at all, but a news brief at the most. A more in-depth view is needed to really understand what's going on. But past that, I do agree with music piracy being a boost on sales and popularity, as it widens dramatically the potential market for any artist to not just people with 20 bucks but to people with MUCH much less who probably couldn't afford it at all otherwise.

      Same thing happens with books, as pirated books, costing way cheaper than legits (at least in my country) find their way not only into a segment of the population's homes, but to a much broader market, and it is usually the widespread distribution through illegal channels that ends up dragging forward the non-pirate books or CDs or movies or whatever.

      So, in a sense, piracy - despite its many cons - has the big pro of making culture (and yeah, a lot of garbage too) widely accesible to lots of people who, usually driven off by high prices, simply turn away in resignation. Knowledge for the masses, if you like, and in poor countries like my own, maybe the only working scenario to raise population's literacy levels.

      • "But past that, I do agree with music piracy being a boost on sales and popularity, as it widens dramatically the potential market for any artist to not just people with 20 bucks but to people with MUCH much less who probably couldn't afford it at all otherwise."

        I think you make good points and we sort of agree on the fact this article is bunk and we'd both love to see real studies, but where we diverge is that you believe something, but I have no opinion and am waiting for hard facts. I think you should c
      • I must disagree.

        Piracy is not a good way to raise the literacy of poor nations at all. Sure, reading is a good way, but look at everything that is already in the public domain, that anyone and everyone can freely distribute, translate, republished, redistribute, etc.

        Not only this, but there still are plenty of professional writers who give away short stories for free on their websites.

        Same with music. Recorded music's getting more songs in public domain now, and there are musicians giving away their musi
      • Call it advertising, exposure, building a name for oneself and the band. Branding, etc. Authors, academics. painters all have to do this if they want to make a living off it anyway, perfectness of the distribution system nonwithstanding. With the internet, this system will be more perfect, more efficient so that's one less barrier to fame. Why should musicians be different?
    • I think we should make a big sign on the front page of slashdot submission utility that reads "Correlation does not Equal Causation.

      I'm not sure how many times I have to read articles like this a day, but here's an example that everyone understands: "There are more deaths by drowning in swimming pools during the summer months. There is more ice-cream consumed during the summer. Therefore, it can be proven that Ice-cream causes deaths by drowning."

      We need to look at factor 3 in the above case (it's hot!),
      • Re:Agree - (Score:5, Insightful)

        by happystink ( 204158 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:04AM (#7714844)
        The problem with adding that to the slashdot submission utility is that the submitters/editors wouldn't actually be able to see it because of their crazy myopia where any news story at all that is somewhat related to any of their pet causes automatically becomes proof of them. Here are 2 situations I can imagine coming up and the slashdot spin on them:

        1. Major record companies report record profits
        slashdot spin: "See, ever since P2P has been thriving, sales have gone UP! GET WITH THE PROGRAM STUPID RECORD COMPANIES"

        2. Major record companies report record losses
        slashdot spin: "The stupid record companies have to get with the program, of course noone is buying cds when they cost too much and with P2P thriving. They need to change their model and offer high bitrate non-DRM downloads for very very low prices! GET WITH THE PROGRAM STUPID RECORD COMPANIES!"
  • by MilitaryIntel ( 623307 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:10AM (#7714669)
    I didn't know that Middle-Earth was at the top of the music scene, good for them.
  • Sales (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeepee ( 607566 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:10AM (#7714673) Homepage Journal
    I think it boost sales of less known album but reduce sales of more commercialy pushed album..... Free access to music give the power of choice.... thats why any big commercial distribors, RIAA etc are against it.
    • Re:Sales (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LoadWB ( 592248 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:50AM (#7714810) Journal
      I've been interested in an album for a while, so I went to the record store to listen to the samples they have (scan the UPC, listen to the sample.) But they only have the same popular single from the album that gets overplayed on the radio.

      That was my attempt to take the high moral road. Not feeling able to justify $16.99 that I can't get back if the rest of the album sucks, I tried to download a few other tracks to see if it was worth it. Of course the files I got were bogus, having either been purposefully damaged with garbage data at specific parts (same time in each file,) or about 20 seconds of the popular single repeated for the duration of the file.

      So fuck 'em. No sample for me, no money from me. I'll just listen to the one song on the radio until we all get sick of it, and wait until I run into the album in a pawn shop for $5.
    • As Tim O'Reilly puts it. [openp2p.com]

      This article is well worth a read - the subsection headings say a lot:

      Lesson 1: Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
      Lesson 2: Piracy is progressive taxation
      Lesson 3: Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.
      Lesson 4: Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.
      Lesson 5: File sharing networks don't threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers
      Lesson 6: "Free" is eventually replaced by a highe
  • well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:11AM (#7714675)
    Do those bands promote bootlegging from their concerts? they generally drives up their raving fan base and promotoes sales of cd's and and concert attendance. Sure correlation, but there is some methoed of caustation here

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:14AM (#7714687)
    ...you know with RIAA and cousins constantly using my own government to screw me, i had pledged not to buy anymore cds...it's been months.

    usually i just listen to the radio or existing collection.

    but a friend loaned me a cd with a couple hundred mp3s on it, and two of them were by "no doubt", god i just love gwen's voice, and they just released some interesting stuff...

    well i had to do it, buy some of their older cd's (and some of their newer stuff, too) as well as some dvd's i've been wanting.

    so i was doing pretty well until this dude loaned me mp3s, then, bam! $250 spent on media just like that.

    i hate the corporate bastards taking away my rights, but music has always been a calming, enjoyable thing for me--makes it pretty fucked when you have to choose between loving great music and hating corporate scum and knowing you can't support the former without supporting the latter.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:14AM (#7714690)
    You'd almost think that you care about us in the Southern Hemisphere ;)
  • by ATAMAH ( 578546 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:18AM (#7714700)
    Nothing in the article says or implies towards the fact that "Piracy boosts sales". What boosts sales is the fact that there are plenty of new zealand artists in top lists, and new zealanders love to support their fellowcountrymen.
  • What the DON'T tell you is that New Zealand has a vested interest in ENYA, yes the artist of such noteworthy titles as "Sail Away" and other new age hits. It turns out that the only way people will buy Enya is because they accidentally downloaded it--thinking it was Kenyan music--and want to do everyone a favor by taking it off the market through purchasing all remaining copies and tossing them into the incenerator ASAP. Where do you think Enya is from? New Zealand, where else? A coincidence? I think NOT
  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:20AM (#7714715) Homepage Journal
    I think the boost in local NZ music by copying is not that surprising. There is a lot of very good New Zealand music, but a lot of it stays relatively unknown, even to the local market, as we tend to get swamped by the more affluent overseas marketing. A little exposure can take you a long way.

    As to New Zealand copyright laws - that's an interesting one, as they are currently under review. I haven't checked recently (but made plenty of submissions while they were taking them) but I believe that while they aren't doing a DMCA (because enough people spoke up) they aren't doing the right thing either.

    This [nzherald.co.nz] article by the IT editor of one of the major NZ newspapers goes so far as to suggest that they ought to be trying to enshrine Copyleft and Creative Commons in the copyright laws, so there is a movement towards this at a reasonably public level - how much sway that actually has over politicians is hard to say.

    All the New Zealanders reading this: Write in to your local MP and ask them for their stance on Copyright law, and explain the benefits of having Copyleft and Creative Commons as a firmly enshrined concept under law. The more they think people are paying attention, the better the chance thet something good will come in the copyright review.

    Jedidiah.
  • by ZeeCog ( 641179 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:21AM (#7714718)
    I think that there is a delicate balance in place that makes music piracy actually help the industry, and people should realize that a possibly integral part of this balance might in fact rely on music piracy continuing to be illegal.
  • Why make excuses? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spyffe ( 32976 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:25AM (#7714729) Homepage
    We don't copy software and music because we're trying to help the music industry; we do it because we can, and doing this doesn't harm anyone. Anyone, that is, except for those people that think they can tell us what we can say or share.

    Yet we try to present music sharing as "helping the music industry!" It's like telling King George that Britain will benefit from granting the colonies self-rule. Sometime the reality will strike: music sharers don't care about the music industry and they don't care about the artists. Sales will eventually fall.

    Better that we tell the industry what our resistance is really about: We reject the government's copyright system that makes Federal authorities into thugs that enforce the music companies' restrictions of our freedom to spread information to whomever we want.

    • ...and doing this doesn't harm anyone.

      Of course it does.

      Better that we tell the industry what our resistance is really about: We reject the government's copyright system that makes Federal authorities into thugs that enforce the music companies' restrictions of our freedom to spread information to whomever we want.

      BS. Ask the average Kazaa downloader why they download music. Because it's there and it's easy! It has nothing to do with some sort of revolutionary movement. It's all about convenience,
      • BS. Ask the average Kazaa downloader why they download music. Because it's there and it's easy! It has nothing to do with some sort of revolutionary movement. It's all about convenience, nothing more.

        Which raises an interesting point - if the New Zealand Government really wanted to help boost New Zealand music (which they have said they wish to so, including mandating airtime for NZ music on local radio) then perhaps they could help set up a nice, easily searchable, repository of local music for download.
      • BS. Ask the average Kazaa downloader why they download music. Because it's there and it's easy! It has nothing to do with some sort of revolutionary movement. It's all about convenience, nothing more.

        Yes, it IS about convenience. But just becuase it is convenient, does not make it automatically wrong. It is wrong only in the sense that it is legally wrong. However, morally, one can make very convincing arguments that it is not theft. All the moral posturing comes ONLY from two sources: that it is legally

      • BS. Ask the average Kazaa downloader why they download music. Because it's there and it's easy! It has nothing to do with some sort of revolutionary movement. It's all about convenience, nothing more.
        Ask the average American why you wanted independence. Ask a Russian peasant why they wanted to overthrough Czarism, ask a French why they wanted to overthrough absolutism, ask English bourgois, why they didn't like the king... The answers would be money, taxes, right to own land, don't want to go to war, want

    • We reject the government's copyright system that makes Federal authorities into thugs that enforce the music companies' restrictions of our freedom to spread information to whomever we want.
      ...that same copyright system is what protects the GPL and everything Linux from scumbag thugs like SCO, so watch yourself.
      • Perhaps. But if the copyright system weren't there, then the GPL would be unnecessary because we could share anything.

        The GPL is a compromise designed for use in a less-than-ideal world. In an ideal world, there would be no copyright and sharing would be the natural thing to do.


        • True, but in said world, you might invent, say, Linux(?) in your basement. Or perhaps the schematics to a new handheld device, or you discover a secret formula that makes a really good cola. Without IP laws, anyone could just take that and sell is, and not give a thing back to you. Imagine some corporation stealing you idea and making millions while you got nothing but bills to pay for all your research materials. It still happens now, but at least it's illegal. Perhaps giving it away is OK with you, though
    • In fact, the Canadian copyright board ruled on Friday that P2P downloading of copyrighted music is legal in Canada. Uploads, however, are illegal.

      CNet is running an article [com.com] on this right now. The decision (PDF) is here [cb-cda.gc.ca].

      Ok, gettings back to the point, P2P downloads of music have exposed me to artists I wouldn't have known of otherwise, and I have bought more music becuase of it. I do claim this is good for artists and the music industry... who it's not good for is the big record labels.

      Unfortunately fo
      • To be fair, I think our IP laws are in need of serious reform, but I do support the right of musicians and other people who produce creative works to receive compensation.
        I think your choice of words is far from perfect... Is there really such a thing as right to be compensated for producing creative works? How about right to be compensated for finding shitty bands and promoting them? And if such a right exist, does it trump the right to freely dessimenate information?

        A better choice of words, I believe,
  • Radio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by POds ( 241854 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:31AM (#7714745) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if Radio listening has been ont he increase at the same time sales are picking up? I'd take a guess and say yes. But it all comes back down to think like American Idol etc!
    • Re:Radio (Score:4, Informative)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:48AM (#7714804) Homepage Journal
      But it all comes back down to think like American Idol etc!

      Interestingly American Idol is based on a TV show that originally began in New Zealand. The show was called "Popstars" and was selecting a group of girls to sing as a girl band type group. It was successful in NZ, and was then run in Australia. From there it moved to getting runs in England, and elsewhere in Europe where the idea morphed a little. Finally it was picked up and converted into American Idol.

      Jedidiah.
      • Hint to New Zealanders: If you want the rest of the world to respect your country, maybe try not mentioning this ever again, and just emphasize the good things about your country. Like the Lord of the Rings and umm.. sheep? Ok, so stick to mentioning LOTR and just ixnay on the ericanamay dolixay.
        • Fair call. Does it help it all that the band has ceased to exist and most (yeah, yeah, the annoying few linger) have disappeared into justified obscurity?

          Jedidiah
          • Mmmmmmm no. You are still basically making your country at least partially take the rap for Clay Aiken and "From Justin To Kelly". Just keep schtum. Or try to blame it on Australia, noone here will notice!
            • There's fairly minimal responsibility there. What America decided to do to (American Idol is a very different format and concept to what the NZ show did), and with the concept is hardly our fault. Besides, it was Americans doing the voting, so they can only really blame themselves, yes?

              Jedidiah.
      • Sorry, but you are wrong. Simon Fuller, the manager of the former Spice Girls is behind UK Pop Idol. Something to do with him thinking it would have been very nice if he had used cameras to record all auditions for the Spice Girls.

        After UK Pop Idol, the format was sold to stations around the globe.

  • by slycer9 ( 264565 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:34AM (#7714753) Journal
    After all, how do you quantify someone like myself, who either:
    A) Downloads a track or three by an unknown (to myself) artist to 'test the waters' and based on the tracks in question either buys their CD's/Merchandise, or immediately deletes their tracks of my HD.

    B) Downloads live/unreleased/discontinued tracks by the truckload.

    Both of those show as 'piracy' by RIAA's standards, one of them 'MAY' contribute to higher music sales, HOWEVER, in the case of 'A', even tho' I downloaded tracks to which I will NEVER purchase said album, it can not be considered a 'lost sale'.

    Bascially, just goes to show, you can skew the numbers to show whatever you want them to show...

    Also of note, I'm up to about $400 in sales to the iTMS. Quantify that...
    • Not to get into a pissing contest with you, but I have one problem with your argument.

      All the tracks from various artists that exist independantly of an album to purchase them on.

      That said, I understand your argument, however, I'm quite unwilling to deny myself the pleasure of listening to as much music from the artists I like merely because it doesn't exist in an 'official' RIAA sanctioned format.

      A couple of examples:

      Several tracks by Willie Nelson and friends live.
      Tom Waits/Bon Jovi live.
      Nick Cave liv
  • Causality link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:37AM (#7714771) Homepage Journal
    As many have pointed out - there's no good causality link here. It's equally likely that local music is more pirated _because_ it is more popular.

    If I was to try and pin some causality to the rise in popularity of local music in NZ, I would say that the Governments request (with threats of legislation) that NZ radio stations fulfill a certain quota of airtime to local music has been a huge boost. And it links in timewise quite closely with some of the rise of popularity of local music. Mostly though, that is simply down to exposure. As noted in another post, local music gets lost amidst the larger marketing budgets of major overseas labels. I'm also not a fan of the government mandating local content quotas - I would prefer the radio stations choose to do that themselves.

    My point is, simply, that greater exposure is what has boosted local music sales. Internet sharing of music is another way to increase exposure. That doesn't mean, of course, that I would advocate piracy - but perhaps local artists who would like to get known should release some tracks under a license that allows copying. Hopefully they already do.

    Jedidiah.
  • Seen it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Raynach ( 713366 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:41AM (#7714782) Homepage
    We've seen this already with games sales in China [slashdot.org].
  • anti-RIAA stickering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chatooya ( 718043 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:01AM (#7714834)
    in store stickering of major label cds [downhillbattle.org]:

    "WARNING: this record label pays radio stations to keep independent music off the air"
  • Their free library has a large range of complete books online. While they are not being distributed via piracy, they increase the sale of books. Eric Flint setup the library with the consent of Jim Baen and in his Palaver corner [baen.com], shows the impact of such free distribution.

    I use the library because I'm travelling around the globe and I can afford to store 40 electronic books - they all fit on one memory stick in my Clie, but I cannot afford to carry my complete paper based Sci/Fi library around the place.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My guess is that sales are up for both legal and illegal copies, but only temporarily. Eventually pirated ones will replace legal ones.

    I'm not saying this through the top of my hat, I went to China and there, even stores sell only illegal copies!

    It's nice to try saying your pirating is ok, but it's not; the governments and record companies are right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:11AM (#7714859)
    The music industry apparently figures out the amount of money lost by piracy with the following formula:
    Amount of money made = $X
    Amount of money I think I should have earned = $Y
    Amount lost to piracy = ($Y - $X) + $C, where $C is some large constant.

    Unfortunately for the music industry, demand for music is sensitive to price. A lot more people will listen to a lot more music if the price is cheap than they will if it is expensive -- raise the price too high and you will see entertainment dollars flow to movies or computer games or kegs of beer. You can't just say "A billion songs were traded last year, so at a buck per song we would have made a billion more dollars without piracy." Even if the RIAA had absolutely perfect content protection and people were so law-abiding they hesitated to cut the tags off mattresses, the amount the recording industry would have gained would be a tiny fraction of the amount they are claiming -- and with some artists, especially the lesser-known ones, they would actually lose sales since no one is going to spend fifteen bucks on an artist they have never listened to.
  • This is just silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:21AM (#7714881)
    the trouble with online music piracy is it doesn't just threaten the industry's sales, it threatens their control over distribution. Put simply, why would the music biz tolerate music piracy for a modest increase in sales when they could use their strangle hold over distribution for a massive increase in sales? For profit's sake the music industry ought go on doing what it's been (crushing pirates and stuffing digital restrictions down people's throats while screwing artists). That's gonna pay off a lot more in the long run.
  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <alizard@ecis.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @04:18AM (#7715020) Homepage
    This is for the people repeating the RIAA whines about piracy = theft.

    Looks like you've let the *AA slide YET ANOTHER ONE past you. People are taking the RIAA "stolen goods" crap at face value. Perhaps the astroturfers I've seen around here have managed to spread some disinformation.

    128K MP3s are FM broadcast quality (by definition) promos. The business model has one big difference from FM. The users are storing music promos at their own expense and serving up copies using their own bandwidth.

    The only differences between taping MP3 promo tracks being played back over a wireless analog channel, like an FM radio and downloading identical MP3 promo tracks off the Net is that one is illegal and the other isn't. Does listening to 128K MP3-quality tracks displace sales? Why would the labels be paying to have them broadcast if they did?

    Either works for promoting records. The digital version is illegal because the *AA organizations paid off a bunch of politicians to make it illegal. As for morality, some people think getting law in exchange for campaign contributions is immoral.

    Sales aren't displaced by MP3 downloading, they're driven. That's why indie musicians release their own stuff for download on MP3. Not because of generosity, but because they want people to buy their CDs and higher-than-broadcast quality digital tracks at iTunes.

    The most downloaded album on Kazaa was the last Eminem CD, "pre-released". People were waiting to buy it so they could get a higher quality music experience than they could get off broadcast quality CDs.

    Records are sold when people hear enough of what's on it to decide they want a high-quality copy for their own listening. Nobody hears it? Nobody buys it. People hear it, whether on FM, P2P, or via FM radio, people might buy it. What's so hard to understand about that?

    Why is the digital version illegal? Record companies want exclusive access to media channels suitable for broadcasting promotional reduced-quality audio tracks to the general public. So they paid a bunch of politicians to make it that way. Just because it's legal doesn't necessarily make it right.

    The only damage done to legit artists by MP3 is that fewer people buy CDs by mistake anymore. People who like a specific band are likely to check out the new album by buying it. If they've heard all the tracks, they aren't going to buy if they find the one good song is the one on the radio and the rest is filler. What's wrong with that? Record labels do not have the holy right to profit at our expense by selling us crap we wouldn't buy if we knew what was on those shiny discs in advance.

    That's why the MP3 downloads from networks like Kazaa are being tracked by places like Big Champagne. To find out what bands are most popular in a kind of real-time readout simply impossible via traditional radio end user polling methods used to find out what music end users are. Arbitron's every few days or month. MP3 downloads are realtime.

    If THE RECORD INDUSTRY didn't think P2P downloads caused CD sales, why are they using Big Champagne tracking info to run marketing campaigns? If low-quality promo downloads automatically killed the market for the CDs they're taken from, all they could find out from the tracking info is who will not be buying their records. If an album were getting millions of downloads, it would be time to pull the plug on marketing and write off the investment because everyone who wanted to hear it's got it on the hard drive and in their MP3 player. Funny that it isn't happening that way, isn't it?

    Or maybe you guys are reacting instead of thinking to RIAA disinformation and conflating a law (AHRA) created via political campaign contribution with morality.

    If you gave public policy issues the kind of concentrated thought you give your software when a program blows up in your face, you might be able to make sense of a lot more of what is going on around you.

    While correlation isn't ca

    • Nicely said! I'm reminded (again) of Jack Valenti's warning, "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."

      Or without the High Crimes and Misdemeanors metaphor:

      "And 6 out of 10 films do not retrieve their total investment period. Now, what are you going to do right on top of that? There is going to be a VCR avalanche. Exports of VCR's from Japan totaled 2.57 million units in 1981. No. 2, the United States is the big
    • Perhaps the astroturfers I've seen around here have managed to spread some disinformation.

      Hey, maybe you can tell me - why is it that people on slashdot have taken to labelling anyone whose opinion they disagree with an "astroturfer"? Why is it so hard to accept that some people simply do not believe what you believe, and that they're not just saying what their employer is paying them to say?

      It's no more than a slogan, used to assault on everybody's civil rights on cyberspace

      I do not have the right to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @04:21AM (#7715023)
    Let me quote the text relevant to illegal copying: "But Tizard warns that while sales of local music are high, so are illegal copies of New Zealand albums. She says piracy and copying of CDs and cassettes is estimated to cost the music industry $40 million a year." That is it. No more information than that.

    The /. editors need to read the links before they post. There is nothing -- no surveys, no time line analysis, no reasoning -- to indicate that there is any causal relationship. The more rational explanation is that those songs that are liked most will be bought more and copied more.

    Damn it people. Use your fucking brains for a minute.
  • by rcamera ( 517595 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @04:34AM (#7715048) Homepage
    i am just about finished conducting a study on why individuals share music. as part of this study, i also try to find out why people download these files.

    of the following reasons regarding why people download music files in mp3 or similar format:

    1) Cheaper than CDs
    2) More convenient than buying CDs
    3) Not worth buying CD for 1-2 songs
    4) To sample songs
    5) Instant access to songs

    the results indicate that answer 4 is the least important of these reasons - by a long shot. the most important reason was found to be answer 2, followed very closely by answer 5.

    the results also show that the availability of free music causes considerably more people to reduce the amount of cds they purchase - not the widely-viewed, non-sensical concept that seems to be floating around that people buy more cds because of fileswapping. of those surveyed (students attending a technical institute), the feeling that music file-swapping helps sales is widely held, but almost nobody responded to the survey to indicate that they personally did this. everyone assumes that everyone else uses this service for music sampling, but in reality, it seems that this is not the case.

    if you're interested in any more of the research findings, let me know.

    as a side note, how did this so-called 'story' make it to the front page of /.? the /. title and blurb do not actually represent what the article says. not only do /. readers not read the article - apparently the posters don't read the articles they post about either.
    • OK, from my own personal study - a sample of one* - I can assure you that my own rate of buying CDs has increased by 5 fold since mp3's became available.

      Example. I now have all Loreena McKennitt's CDs after finding half a dozen tracks by a random search on Kaazaa.

      Example. I have 6 or 7 Dead can Dance CDs after seeing a mention somewhere then downloading a few tracks to sample.

      Example. I just purchased a Mariza CD after hearing several tracks from it as mp3. The irony of that one is that the CD has s

      1. Cheaper than CDs
      2. More convenient than buying CDs
      3. Not worth buying CD for 1-2 songs
      4. To sample songs
      5. Instant access to songs

      Everyone has their own solution-du-jour to the media industry vs. filesharing problem. I'd like to see a solution which allows one to sample lower-quality (96k, say, or mono) music for free, and would allow one to purchase higher-quality versions for iTunes prices.

      If a person decided that an album was worth owning in its entirety, they could opt to purchase it for a reasonable fee

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @04:37AM (#7715056)
    Let's see - the article says "A" is high, and it says "B" is high. So? Two observations don't make a correlation without some supporting evidence, wishful thinking aside! Otherwise the following two statements would be correlated:

    1) The average highway speed limit in the United states is higher now than it was 20 years ago.
    2) The average annual temperature in the United States is higher now than it was 20 years ago.

    Almost anyone can see these are independent (I'm sure at least one reply will attempt to argue otherwise, since this is Slashdot after all).

    Given the article as presented, the strongest valid statement one could really make is "Those Kiwis love their music!" If you want to draw stronger inferences, present data that actually links these two observations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @04:54AM (#7715081)
    Here, at the end of that article, is yet another example of the widespread, thoughtless assumption that every music file traded illegally constitutes lost revenue.

    I know that if I couldn't download music without paying for it, I wouldn't listen to as much music, since I ain't that rich. Because I can "steal" mp3's, listening to music has become a much greater part of my life than it could have otherwise, which means that I'm more interested in buying the albums that I really enjoy. True, I'm not the kind of customer the music industry is really interested in; they cater mostly to the people who listen to those crappy NOW compilations, because those people form the meta-cliche of all cliches: the lowest common denominator. They're undiscriminating morons by the truckload who will, in a twisted bit of irony, undiscriminatingly download the same tripe from Kazaa, and will also likely never give the record industry another penny in their lives. Could the executives responsible for signing artists possibly develop a variegated, thoughtful customer base which really appreciates what it listens to enough to buy it, by refusing to offer up any more flashy, shallow nonsense? nah... Maybe they shouldn't have artificially jacked up the price of CD's (which they lost an antitrust suit over). Or allowed the heinous, evil Clear Channel to become so prevalent as to force musiclovers to find other means of listening to music for free.

    What I'd like to do is simply steal every bit of major-label music I listen to and then mail a check of the full amount of the CD directly to the artist/band. The middle men don't get their cut. Everyone should go that way. Wouldn't be the "end of the music industry" as the press so often likes to say: it would just be the end of the bloated, manipulative corporations that have no place making a commodity of something as specific and inherently idiosyncratic as individual people should be.

  • For what it's worth, this very short article looks like a cut down version of a press release [beehive.govt.nz] from Judith Tizard --- New Zealand's minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

    The original press release is slightly longer with a couple of extra paragraphs on the end.

  • This slashdot article has got to be the poorest analysis of a newspaper article I have seen. I though slashdot was reasonably intelligent. The government of New Zealand is obviously aware of the effects of piracy otherwise they wouldn't have mentioned it!!

    I live in New Zealand, and a lot of people I know have a bit of an edict - they buy New Zealand music to support the local artists, and they pirate the foreign stuff. I personally only buy my music as I haven't bought a foreign album in months - the qua
  • Governments oppose piracy because it is illegal, not because piracy has an impact on music sales.

    Copyright protects the right of authors to profit from their work and to distribute it as they see fit, whether by giving it away free on street corners or doing a deal with a publisher.

    Blatantly self-interested groups on either extreme -- misdirected music corporations and greedy individuals who don't want to pay for music -- dominate this discussion. Both groups willfully abuse the purpose of copyright to a
    • Governments oppose piracy because it is illegal, not because piracy has an impact on music sales.

      And who exactly made it illegal in the first place? Governments!

      THe problem is, there are two ways you can treat ideas, and the concrete expression of those ideas.

      1) They are the property of the person that wrote them down, and should be protected like other property 2) Culture and society is made up of these shared ideas, and by sharing them, we do not deprive the existing holders of their copy, so the cr

  • An excellent example of how 'Net file sharing can actually be used deliberately to boost sales, while also making the fans happy, was how Iron Maiden promoted their latest album, Dance of Death.

    The album wasn't recorded all in one go, as albums usually are, but was recorded during the breaks between tours and gigs. When Maiden had written and recorded a new song for the coming album, they'd perform it on some of the subsequent tours. Whenever they were about to play some new material, frontman Bruce Dickinson would tell the gathered hordes of Maiden fans that if they wanted to record it and share it with their friends on the Net, that was OK, "just buy the album when it gets out, right?".

    So in the months before the release, tons of concert bootlegs of Wildest Dreams, Rainmaker and the title track Dance of Death were floating around the net. People's anticipation of the new album was boosted to the boiling point, and Maiden had come across as sympathetic people who wanted to share their music with the world rather than greedy Lars Ulrich clones. When the album was released, it had killer sales. Lots of people who had come across one of the aforementioned bootlegs (with poor sound quality -- you don't drag your studio quality recorder to a concert, do you? ;) ) just had to hear them in a studio version. It's likely that encouraging filesharing had actually boosted the sales of that record. At any rate, the move sure gained Maiden more respect from their fans, which I personally think is something that also translates to better sales.

    I believe this is the way to do it if you're a major band -- adapting to the new reality of 'net file sharing (legal or not -- the illegal status of sharing copyrighted music obviously isn't stopping anyone) rather than whining about it.

  • According to this NZ news article it appears local music is being boosted by piracy

    That's one of the most idiotic things ever said on Slashdot. Nowhere in the article does it say that, or even say anything that could remotely be interepreted as implying that.

    The article does say that broadcast and performance are up, which would naturally lead to a boost in both sales and piracy, so the conclusion non-idiots would come to is that piracy is up because popularity is up, which is the same reason sales are

  • I doubt piracy is a huge catalyst for music sales. I'm certainly not buing as much music as I would if I wouldn't download music. But I guess many discovers new good music when downloading it and thus "trialing" it, and thinks "what the heck, I'll just buy the whole album and be sure I easily get it all in high quality".

    So the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Music companies don't lose massive amounts of sales, piracy don't boost sales, but maybe... piracy makes a negligible difference?
  • The time has come for non-commerical copyright infringement to be made legal. Stiff penalties for commercial infringement, making money from copying, and counterfeiting should remain, or perhaps even be increased.

    The terms of coopyright enforcement should be brought back in line so that something you pay for in your youth is in public domain before you die. Copyright should last a generation at most - call it 30 years.

    Nobody creates in a vacuum. All creative minds thrive on the cultural and creative diver
  • by stwrtpj ( 518864 ) <<p.stewart> <at> <comcast.net>> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @10:16AM (#7715799) Journal

    One of the things that people need to keep in mind when speaking of "music piracy" is that there are two forms of piracy out there, both of which are as different as night and day, but he RIAA would prefer that people blur the line between them.

    The type of piracy that people think about when the RIAA spews its propaganda is file-sharing "piracy". They whine about this and then point to their multi-million dollar losses.

    But this is NOT the piracy that's causing them to lose money.

    What has the potential to suck them dry is the second type of piracy. This is the kind sometimes run by organized crime. Big warehouses with CD duplicating machinery churning out fake copies of copyrighted music. This is very common overseas, usually in Asia. This type of piracy is very real and indistputably illegal AND immoral because it robs not just the RIAA of profit, but the artist as well.

    But the RIAA purposely blurs the line between these for the purpose, I believe, of maintaining their strangehold on the distribution of music. The internet scares them because it opens up the possibility of increased competition. Thus they use the mass CD-duplication piracy problem (which IS a real problem) and use it as a convenient vehicle by which to forward their political agenda.

    The moment that a major label Gets It and strikes out on its own to change its business model is the day that the RIAA will cease to be a cohesive political entity.

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago

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