Economist and business administrator Peter Tschmuck analyzed 23 studies on filesharing in order to find out if file sharing is good or bad for the music industry; if downloading avoids purchases or if users discover new music through file sharing, and then buy it. His conclusion is “We need new studies with a global perspective as existing studies are either based on outdated data or work on shady methods and offer very different results”
The only common outcome is, that the U.S. music industries turnover based on download sales was less than in the 80s and 90s, whereas sales did rise in the UK in the previous year.
20 studies see a connection between free and paid content affecting sales, but anyhow, 3 don’t. Maybe it’s due to how piracy is defined, piracy, unauthorized copying, file sharing, downloading free content often get mixed up, also the products examined range from CD albums to singles, to tracks. Often data is simply outdated. Even attempts to break down statistical methodologies of comparing poll results with case studies from other examinations of behavior within the same target group might be debatable, or would you think the frequency of church visits amongst twens or fines for wrong parking would offer a deeper insight into file sharing? On this imprecise and variable data basis, of course studies must draw different conclusions.
5 studies even conclude, the music industry would have sold even less without file sharing. The other studies range the negative impact of file sharing from few per mil to 245 per cent.
Tschmuck concludes that it’s time to leave simple and often result driven correlations behind and face the complexity of diversification of the means of music consumption as well as music sales. Especially as the effects of legal services such as Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, MySpace haven’t even been examined.
Guess he founded his business with that…