Truth is Out for the RIAA

So now the truth has finally started to come out. Here's the news item on yahoo:

Wednesday March 31, 12:30 PM

Net music piracy 'does not harm record sales'
By Will Knight

Internet music piracy is not responsible for declining CD sales, claim the researchers behind a major new statistical study.

Felix Oberholzer-Gee at Harvard Business School in Massachusetts and Koleman Strumpf at the University of North Carolina tracked millions of music files downloaded through the OpenNap file-trading network and compared them with CD sales of the same music.

The music industry frequently claims that illegal file-trading is responsible for reducing legitimate music sales. The industry says this argument is the reason for their legal campaign of suing individual file traders over the past year.

However, the researchers conclude: "At most, file sharing can explain a tiny fraction of this decline."

Automatic monitoring

Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf monitored 680 albums, chosen from a range of musical genres, downloaded over 17 weeks in the second half of 2002. They used computer programs to automatically monitor downloads and compared this data to changes in album sales over the same period to see if a link could be established.

The most heavily downloaded songs showed no decrease in CD sales as a result of increasing downloads. In fact, albums that sold more than 600,000 copies during this period appeared to sell better when downloaded more heavily.

For these albums each increase of 150 downloads corresponded to another legitimate album sale. The study showed only a slight decline in sales as a result of online trading for the least popular music.

"From a statistical point of view, what this means is that there is no effect between downloading and sales," say Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf.

The full article


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