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Peer to Peer, Piracy and Gigs

January 4, 2011

As we move into 2011, the debate over copyright shows no signs of slowing or stopping.  First it is worth noting an interesting article from Ars Technica (hat-tip to Michel) that concludes that while piracy may indeed damage legal sales, it has a benefit in promoting the artist/s so allowing them to earn more from live gigs etc:

File-sharing may increase awareness of smaller, more obscure artists and their music by making the music available from more sources and at a much lower cost (or for free in the case of illegal file-sharing),” three scholars conclude. This has probably translated into more interest and boosted demand for their live concert appearances.

Thus, “while file-sharing may offset some album sales for small artists[,] this may be mitigated in part by increased sales from the larger potential fan base that may result from increased awareness of those artists.”

However this benefit was mainly to smaller acts; so for smaller acts p2p sharing of music can be a plus. The graph below tracking both album sales and concerts is very interesting, showing that as album sales fall, the number of gigs rockets…

Sales of Albums vs Live Gigs

To follow this study, it is also worth noting an interesting comment article in the Guardian that looks at France’s attempts to combat music piracy and that the law seems two steps behind the methods used to share files;

But the most immediate effect it’s had has been to change the way in which music, films and TV series are illegally accessed. Hadopi [Haute autorité pour la diffusion des œuvres et la protection des droits sur internet, the French government anti-piracy group] is looking after peer-to-peer sharing of music and films, but activity has already largely moved on to direct download, which can be more difficult to monitor, or even the streaming of illegal content, which this law doesn’t cover at all. Once again, the law is one or two wars behind.

(Also posted on the p2p foundation blog)

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