A recent study from a researcher at NC State University in Raleigh found connections between increased filesharing of leaked albums and increased sales of those albums. The findings were a bit limited but it correlates nicely with an overview of filesharing research conducted by Drew Wilson at ZeroPaid. Wilson took a close look at nineteen academic studies of filesharing that, taken as a whole, suggest industry adaptation may be the most productive path forward.
"The results strongly suggest that an album beneﬁts from increased ﬁle sharing: an album that became available in ﬁle-sharing networks one month earlier would sell 60 additional units. This increase is sales is small relativeto other factors that have been found to aﬀect album sales. I conclude with an investigationof the distributional eﬀects of ﬁle sharing on sales and ﬁnd that ﬁle sharing beneﬁts more established and popular artists but not newer and smaller artists."
Positive results for those who advocate treating filesharing as a form of marketing but not a big enough boost for a resounding victory on that front.
ZeroPaid's Drew Wilson has been looking closely at 19 similar studies from the last seven years. In addition to sharing his strongly articulated perspective, Wilson includes the links to the source which are sometimes held behind academic paywalls.
Wilson includes enough quotations from each source to make it clear that many of them do support strong copyright enforcement. But even the most ardent litigators also speak to adaptation with a focus on such responses as making music more readily available at a price that clearly takes into account digital production savings.
However, keep in mind that many of these studies were conducted before new streaming services such as Spotify, a wide range of web radio-licensed experiments and new ecommerce outlets such as Google Play emerged. So availability and pricing are showing some innovation.
Another positive approach is to maximize the marketing potential of filesharing networks as did Pretty Lights with BitTorrent. Counting Crows took a more official route recently with a Featured BitTorrent Bundle.
Marketing benefits will clearly vary as creative responsives to new and sometimes unauthorized channels for music distribution. But the primary lesson of all this research is to find that making music as widely available at a price seen as fair is key to maximizing music sales.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.