March 24, 2005

Piracy and Music sales

Interesting post about music piracy realities from Richard over at the Gadget Lounge (and also cross-posted on the Gadget Show on the Podcast Network). It reveals some misleading ARIA stats regarding the decline in music sales of 5-6% (depending on the format). He notes:

Fortunately, we’ve got some very clued in researchers, just like Alex Malik. Malik is conducting research at the University of Technology, Sydney, toward his PHD, and being a former ARIA in house lawyer, happens to know the market well. His research, which uses ARIA’s own data, points out that the major labels have released 39% less albums and 42% less singles for the year when compared to 2003. No wonder sales have decreased.

Of course one might argue that the major labels have invested less because they are getting less return due to piracy, etc. But I would go back to an earlier point that Richard mentions - the music is crap. One commenter points to the X-Factor/Idol phenomenon for sucking the life out of the music industry, but perhaps it’s not just that the music is crap, but more that those shows reveal just what a sham and marketing scam 75% of the business is and we’ve all got a bit wiser as a result. I can’t imagine many people have been downloading pirate copies of Casey Donovan albums. This is exemplified by the fact that the independent labels doubled their album sales.

If it’s good and people are able to download it easily and legally, then they will. Has the music industry learned nothing from the iTunes Music Store? The kind of attitude ARIA are showing only drives people away from legitimate music because they resent the greed.