Digital Music

Study: Napster Had Zero Impact on New Artists

image from www.ipadngravy.com A new study argues that Napster and its predecessors have not reduced the entrance of new artists to the music market.

Case in point: CD Baby just announced that new title sign-ups doubled in 2010. Piracy has made it harder to make substantial sums from the sales of recorded music, but it has not affected "the quantity of new recorded music or artists coming to market," argues Joel Waldfogelm, an economist at the University of Minnesota. Read the abstract:

"In the decade since Napster, file-sharing has undermined the protection that copyright affords recorded music, reducing recorded music sales.

What matters for consumers, however, is not sellers’ revenue but the surplus they derive from new music.

The legal monopoly created by copyright is justified by its encouragement of the creation of new works, but there is little evidence on this relationship.

The file-sharing era can be viewed as a large-scale experiment allowing us to check whether events since Napster have stemmed the flow of new works. We assemble a novel dataset on the number of high quality works released annually, since 1960, derived from retrospective critical assessments of music such best-of-the-decade lists. This allows a comparison of the quantity of new albums since Napster to 1) its pre-Napster level, 2) pre-Napster trends, and 3) a possible control, the volume of new songs since the iTunes Music Store’s revitalization of the single.

We find no evidence that changes since Napster have affected the quantity of new recorded music or artists coming to market. We reconcile stable quantities in the face of decreased demand with reduced costs of bringing works to market and a growing role of independent labels." (Read on.)

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9 Comments

  1. Ok… and who have ever said that there were made less new music because of Napster and the internet?
    Am I missing a point?

  2. I think the point is that those who argue that copyright is necessary to keep new blood in the industry might not be entirely right. Those arguments assume people make music because of the economic benefits it affords. But if people continue to make music (more music than ever, actually) despite the erosion of copyright protection and economic benefit, there are obviously other social reasons people make music. Money is necessary, but too many people in this business think it’s everything. Music is art, and it always will be.

  3. You’re properly right, but I dont think its interesting knowing that more people releases music… Isn’t it more interesting to now if people actually LISTEN tp more music?
    I think its way to easy to release music and that there is not necessary something positive in that…

  4. More people are listening to more music than at any other time in history. I agree with you – that’s important. But think of how cool it is that more people than ever have the access and ability to make music. More people expressing themselves and sharing those expressions is a positive thing! Art and music can (and should be) for everyone who wants to participate.

  5. People who thought illegal downloading was decreasing the amount of new music clearly don’t have anything to do with actually making music. Probably just a bunch of in the box economists.
    This industry is DIY now, thats why there are so many new artist. Has almost nothing to do with copyright and economic incentive.

  6. People who thought illegal downloading was decreasing the amount of new music clearly don’t have anything to do with actually making music. Probably just a bunch of in the box economists.
    This industry is DIY now, thats why there are so many new artist. Has almost nothing to do with copyright and economic incentive.

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