Well, this last week has been extremely interesting for those watching the music industry – two points in particular that came up were apparently unrelated (unless you think like me).
The first article is that SonyBMG was caught with their pants around their ankles as they faced the music (sorry, but the bad pun had to be made!) for bribing radio station employees with vacations, electronics and other expensive gifts, provided giveaways for radio station contests and even paid operational expenses for radio stations to give its songs more airtime.
The Payola case came to light thanks to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who launched the investigation. Sony settled the case for $US 10 Million.
The second was the release of a study by UK firm The Leading Question that confirms what I’ve known all along – people who regularly share or download music illegally, typically spend over 4 times more on legal music downloads than other music fans.
Yeop, that’s right … over 400% more! So, they may download, but they buy more.
I know that I would not have discovered nor purchased over half of my extensive (and overpriced) CD collection if it wasn’t for the mp3 phenomenon.
The study surveyed more than 600 music fans who each own a PC or Mac as well as a mobile phone. Those pirates who regularly download or share unlicensed music and spend less as a result on Cd’s also spend an average of £5.52 ($A 13.16) per month on legal digital music. The average music fan spends just £1.27 ($A 3.03) on digital tracks.
Paul Brindley, director of The Leading Question states:
The 2005 Speakerbox research clearly shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers. It also points out that they are eager to adopt legitimate music services in the future. So far, the music industry has tried to get these pirates on-side by taking them to court, but there need to be plenty of carrots alongside the sticks. Legal actions are making something of an impact but unlicensed file sharing will never be eradicated. The smart response is to capitalise on the power of the p2p networks themselves to entice consumers into more attractive legal
I, for one, agree and find it highly ironic that the moral clause utilised by these firms is so hypocritical in light of the payola scandal. Let’s be honest, how many were truly shocked? We all know it’s happening, it’s just that someone finally got caught.
So, let’s get a grip shall we?
Here’s a new idea! Why don’t you come out and talk to the fans? Ask them what they want? Work with them to work out a happy medium?
Oh, I know, the execs are already going to go and find some research that shows that a percentile of the p2p market don’t buy any music and just steal it … well, guess what guys, they wouldn’t anyway … they are the same ones who sat there and taped it off the radio, copied their mates collection, etc. That’s never going to go away … get a grip, and focus on the majority of people who are willing to give up their hard earned cash to pay 900% more for a single than the artist themselves are actually getting.
Payola Story related Links
- The Evidence
- Sign On San Diego Article
- The Billboard Radio Monitor Article
- The Digital Music Weblog entry
- Hip Hop Politics blog entry
- TripleJ‘s (Australia’s National Youth Radio) Current Affair Programme, Hack, has been covering this story all week as well, with some interesting feedback from callers:
- Listen to the Payola Story Part 1 : Sony BMG Fined in the US (mp3, 8.08 mb)
- Listen to the Payola Story Part 2 : Payola in Community Radio Stations (mp3, 3.99 mb)
- Listen to the Payola Story Part 3 : Does JJJ Participate in Payola? (mp3, 2.29 mb)
MP3 Story related Links
- The Leading Question
- The Leading Question Press Release – Music pirates spend four-and-a-half times more on legitimate music downloads than average fans
- The Leading Question Press Release – Radio is still the number one source for finding out about new Music
- The BBC NEWS Article – Downloading ‘myths’ challenged
- The Guardian News Article – Online file sharers ‘buy more music’
- The Register Article – File sharers ‘spend more on music downloads
- The Ars Technica Article – P2P users among music industry’s best customers