Earlier today, Industry Canada, a ministry of the federal government, released a surprising study of peer-to-peer file-sharing on the music industry.
The study is called The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada, and was written by Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz, of the Department of Management at the University of London in England.
Its conclusion: P2P file-sharing does not put downward pressure on purchasing music, as the music industry has insisted for years. In fact, it does just the opposite: It tends to increase music purchasing.
The study also can find “no direct evidence to suggest that the net effect of P2P file sharing on CD purchasing is either positive or negative for Canada as a whole”. The study notes that
Among Canadians who engage in P2P file-sharing, our results suggest that for every 12 P2P downloaded songs, music purchases increase by 0.44 CDs. That is, downloading the equivalent of approximately one CD increases purchasing by about
half of a CD.
This is radically different than what the proponents of digital restrictions management (DRM) tell us.
The Andersen-Frenz study says that P2P file sharing is often used as a previewing service (estimates about half of P2P users do this) and to make up for something that’s not available elsewhere (same study estimated 25%).