Does Piracy Impact Sales? Just like libraries?

RECORDS by kendrak
RECORDS, a photo by kendrak on Flickr.

People have been saying piracy is killing the music industry. Sorry Lars, but the RIAA is killing the music industry. Remember – innovate or die. It’s just like ebooks! Here’s something new linked from ebook primer: “Does Piracy Impact Sales? Not How You Might Think!”. It discuses a new report from the European Commission Joint Research Centre, “Digital Music Consumption on the Internet: Evidence from Clickstream Data.” From the article:

In the end, the study reported “no evidence of digital music sales displacement” from piracy. If anything, there seemed to be a “rather small complementarity between these two music consumption channels.” The report explains that this comes from the theory that piracy of some music with a low perceived value that would never have been purchased anyway creates a consumer surplus that can be used to purchase music with a high perceived value. Another surprising find was that legal streaming of digital music had a “somewhat larger” impact on digital music purchases.What might this mean for our consideration of ebooks? Even though music and books are different in some aspects, they would both fall under what the report refers to as an “experience good” so I believe we can (at least cautiously) extrapolate the findings of this report to ebooks. A perennial issue in conversations with the Big Six is the displacement of sales due to library lending. At times, it even seems that the Big Six view library patrons as ebook pirates, so let us then embrace this study’s findings, which show a lack of sales displacement. In fact, libraries are much more similar to the legal music streaming services discussed in the report—and those streaming services stimulated sales.

Music streaming options have really increased the money I spend on music. So much that I am actively weeding my records. This is a real phenomenon. Trust the consumer and give them a good product, they will value it and spend money. Get on it publishers. “

I know that music streaming services like MOG have really sparked me to buy records like mad. So much so that I have to weed. Publishers, if you treat your consumers like humans and not criminals, and you make it easy for them to pay and consume, they will do it. Roadblocks and treating them like thugs really devalues your product.

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