Friday, October 4, 2013

Do Illegal Downloaders Buy More Music Than Non-Pirates?

Alexandra Govere/RYOT News

Flag of popular file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay. (This image is pirated by RYOT)
Ever since peer-to-peer file sharing site Napster hit the scene in 1999, musicians and the people who make money off of them have feared that piraters would loot their industry. According to a Columbia University study, they’re wrong. In fact, it turns out file-sharers buy more music than non-filesharers.

According to the study, frequent users of peer-to-peer networks purchase music 30 percent more often than non-P2P users. Many factors contribute to this, including the notion that P2P users are more avid music fans in general and the fact that file-sharing helps people discover new music that they may eventually love enough to obtain the legal way.

I once (translation: hundreds, if not thousands of times) illegally downloaded a song. I loved the song so much that I illegally downloaded the album. But I was so impressed by the album that I purchased all of the artist’s future releases. And by impressed, I mean the 12-song disk inspired countless stupid yet memorable weekend events. I am many brian cells down thanks to you, Kid Cudi.

The fact is that there are some people who buy music, and some people who don’t. Some who feel a moral inclination to support the artists who provide the background music to their joyful, sorrowful and sexy times, and others who would rather spend their money on beer. However, as a current music buyer (no promises for the future), let me leave you with this: An entire album of music — years of hard work and, probably, heartbreak transformed into songs, for you — costs less than the average bar cocktail. Is your favorite album worth more than a vodka soda?

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