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Illegal Downloading Hurting Music Sales

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Friday, June 20, 2003
News Categories: Digital Media

At this years R&R Convention 2003, trade publication Radio & Records and Edison Media Research unveiled the results of a national survey of 12 to 44 year olds showing that the illegal downloading of music is hurting music sales. (Click ‘Read more’ for the complete press release.)

“Among the heaviest downloaders, those who have downloaded more than
100 music files (about 16% of 12-44s), reported purchases of CDs has dropped an incredible 61% from last year’s study (28.9 CDs, on average per person, purchased last year compared with 11.3 CDs purchased this year). [...]

71% of heavy downloaders say that “Instead of buying a CD they have burnt someone else’s copy of a CD,” and 48% of them say ‘They no longer have to buy CDs because they could download music for free over the Internet.’”

Press release:

Why Are Music Sales Falling? DOWNLOADING

LOS ANGELES, June 17 /PRNewswire/—While there are a variety of reasons contributing to the downturn in music sales, the twin problems of downloading and burning are clearly the most potent ones, according to a recent national survey of 12 to 44 year olds conducted by Edison Media Research for the trade publication Radio & Records. The data suggest that, in particular, the heaviest downloaders have the most negative influence on sales.

“Our study should put to rest the notion argued by some surveys that say downloading actually helps sell records,” says Jayne Charneski, Vice President of Edison Media Research. “While some people do indeed say that they have learned about music and gone on to buy CDs because of downloading, the gains are more than negated by lost sales due to people downloading music or burning (making digital copies of CDs).”

Some of the interesting behavioral trends to emerge from this study include:

  *  Among the heaviest downloaders, those who have downloaded more than
    100 music files (about 16% of 12-44s), reported purchases of CDs has
    dropped an incredible 61% from last year’s study (28.9 CDs, on average
    per person, purchased last year compared with 11.3 CDs purchased this
    year).

    “Today’s heavy downloader tends to be the same person the record
    industry has relied on in the past to be the heavy purchaser.  These
    days, many in this group are increasingly downloading from
    file-sharing sites and burning music instead of buying music,” says
    Charneski.

  *  71% of heavy downloaders say that “Instead of buying a CD they have
    burnt someone else’s copy of a CD,” and 48% of them say “They no
    longer have to buy CDs because they could download music for free over
    the Internet.”

  *  More teens than ever are burning instead of buying—61% of
    12-17-year-olds have burned someone else’s copy of a CD instead of
    buying their own copy, a 13% increase in one year.


Not all of the results bode poorly for the record industry, however. Some of interesting attitudinal trends to emerge from this study include:

  *  14% of those who download told us they won’t download music for free
    because they feel artists and record labels should be compensated.
    This is a tremendous increase from 2002 when only 5% of downloaders
    felt this way.

  *  The number of Americans who believe downloading music files for free
    from the Internet is “morally wrong” has increased 28% in one year.
    As of May 2003, some 50% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 44
    believe downloading music for free from the Internet is morally wrong,
    up from just 39% in 2002.

    “I think we are seeing some evidence that the anti-piracy campaigns
    waged by the RIAA and the record labels are starting to change the
    hearts and minds of consumers when it comes to file-sharing services.
    There is a growing group of consumers who want to pay for their
    downloads,” explains Charneski.  “Meanwhile, Apple’s I-Tunes came
    along and raised the bar in the online music store space.  I-Tunes is
    easy to use and Apple’s name gives paying for downloads an element of
    cool.  All this is great news for the record industry.”

  Other findings include:

  *  12 to 24s buy into the media’s “bling bling” portrayal of the music
    industry.  Half believe that all recording artists and record label
    employees are rich, live in big houses, and drive expensive cars!

  *  12 to 17s: the Hip-Hop Generation.  When asked on an unaided basis to
    name their favorite musical artists of all time, three Hip-Hop artists
    occupied the top slots—#1 Tupac, #2 Eminem, #3 50 Cent.

  *  Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” ranks as the top favorite song
    among 12 to 44s.  Garth Brook’s “The Dance” holds the #2 spot.

  *  Videogames sell music—8% of 12 to 17s and 10% of 18 to 24s said
    hearing a song featured in a videogame was influential in purchasing
    the last music CD they bought for themselves.

  *  Consumers in the demos the record industry traditionally relies on for
    the bulk of new music sales (12 to 24s) still believe the industry is
    producing quality product and the vast majority (74%) are as
    passionate about music these days as they used to be.

  *  36% of persons 18+ believe there is more programming variety on local
    radio stations today compared to 5 years ago.  Another 46% believe
    there is the same amount of variety on local radio today compared to
    5 years ago.

  *  33% of downloaders said they would disable their file sharing software
    if they received a pop-up message warning they are at risk for legal
    penalties for downloading music from file-sharing services.


These findings highlight a comprehensive survey about music purchasing and behavior conducted by Edison for R&R Convention 2003, being held this week at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The survey’s results will be presented Thursday, June 19, at 11:00 a.m. in a session titled “The National Record Buyers Study III.”

This national survey interviewed 1003 persons age 12+. It was conducted by telephone from a national sample (continental U.S.) between May 8 and May 18, 2003. For a sample of this size, the sample error is + 3%.

About Edison Media Research

Edison Media Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to radio stations, television stations, newspapers, cable networks, record labels, Internet companies and other media organizations. Edison Media Research is the fastest-growing market research company in America over the past five years, according to Advertising Age. Edison Media Research works with many of the largest radio ownership groups and also conducts strategic and perceptual research for a broad array of companies, including AOL, Yahoo!, CBS, CNN, Entertainment Weekly, Court TV, Island Records, Maverick Records, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic, Princeton University, Sony Music, the Blackstone Group and Time-Life Music. Edison Media Research also conducts research for successful radio stations in South America, Canada and Europe and performs research throughout the Arabic- speaking world for the U.S. government’s Radio Sawa service. For more information about Edison Media Research, contact Jayne Charneski, Edison Media Research, 6 West Cliff Street, Somerville, NJ 08876; telephone 908-707-4707 or visit www.edisonresearch.com .

About Radio & Records

Radio & Records was founded in 1973 to provide credible news and information to the commercial radio broadcast and recording industries. R&R produces 32 daily and weekly publications in printed, faxed, e-mail and online formats. R&R produces music charts based on the weekly airplay activity of 1,000 U.S. commercial radio stations, as provided by Mediabase 24/7. This information is used by radio programmers around the world and is the basis of syndicated countdown shows including American Top 40 With Casey Kasem. R&R also stages three annual major industry conventions: the R&R Convention, the R&R Talk Radio Seminar and the R&R Triple A Summit. R&R operates offices in Los Angeles, Nashville and Washington, DC. Erica Farber is Publisher/CEO of the company. Its website is at www.radioandrecords.com .

About the R&R Convention

The R&R Convention is the radio and record industries’ largest combined gathering of radio professionals, recording-industry executives and recording artists. Held annually, the convention features a mix of keynote speakers, panels, workshops and evening entertainment. It is also where the R&R Industry Achievement Awards are announced each year. R&R Convention 2003 will be held at Merv Griffin’s Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. For details and registration, go to www.radioandrecords.com .

For further information, please contact: Jayne Charneski of Edison Media Research, +1-908-707-4707, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Ron Rodrigues of Radio & Records, +1-310-788-1646, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Source: Radio & Records

CONTACT: Jayne Charneski of Edison Media Research, +1-908-707-4707, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Ron Rodrigues of Radio & Records, +1-310-788-1646, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Web site: http://www.edisonresearch.com/

Web site: http://www.radioandrecords.com/

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Comments

1

its all about greed…they got greedy, now they are paying the price…why dont they comment on the 2000 bands (including : cowboy junkies…morrissey…etc) that got dumped ? , so they could have complete control and creat fictional bands like NSTINK, Backdoorboys….and pay huge contracts to people like janet jackson?.....they caused all this them selves….i wouldnt download one more song if cds were $10….they have brought this on themselves

Posted by robert on June 20, 2003 at 7:39 AM (PDT)

2

What the RIAA doesn’t factor into those statistics is that they released approx. 10% fewer acts than the previous year.  The acts that are released are marketed almost exclusively toward the “teeny bopper” demographic.  Of these releases, maybe 1 or 2 songs has a hook that is listenable for a couple weeks and then you never want to hear it again.  (Personally, I never wanted to hear Britney, Christina, NSYNC, et. al. in the first place)

I can’t feel sorry for an industry that has progressively charged MORE money for CD’s even when manufacturing costs have plummetted.  Can you blame people for downloading songs for free?  Why should people have moral hang-ups about stealing music when most of the “role models” of popular music are too busy bragging about “busting a cap in your ###” to even include music in their “product”?

Sorry about the rant, but we struggling independent musicians are very bitter…

here are some links with some good info about this issue:
http://www.thatmark.com/journal/archives/000441.html
http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html
http://www.thefutureof.net.futuresite.register.com/_wsn/page10.html
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/02/01/file_trading_manifesto/index.html?x

Posted by Danstigator on June 20, 2003 at 7:54 AM (PDT)

3

“Why Are Music Sales Falling? DOWNLOADING”

Really?

I guess the music industry totally forgot about the good old days when people dub tapes and record songs played by radio stations.

I am not saying its right to download unpaid music.  However, the music industry seems to blow this whole thing out of proportion.  RIAA on the other hand is like crazy pitbull attacking everyone in sight.  I mean, have they ever consider the world economy might contribute to the downfall of music sales?  After all, 9+ million people in US alone are struggling to find jobs.  On top of that, there are plenty of people can barely stay a float in today’s trouble economy.  Do people in music industry really except people to buy 28. something CDs when they can barely feed their family?

Copying music is nothing new.  It is a problem.  However, it’s not as big of a problem as music industry protrait.  All I can wish for is music industry take active steps to work on this issue instead of whinning to news media every freaking day or overwhelm our justice system with lawsuits (RIAA is beginning to top the chart on suing people.  Their actions make Microsoft look good!)  If they can’t stop people from downloading musics, why not look at what iTune is doing?  I am sure they can make plenty of money to buy more mansions, exotic cars, and so forth for themselves by selling tracks for a buck a piece. 

Posted by lliang on June 20, 2003 at 7:57 AM (PDT)

4

Curiuosly RIAA left out the older demogrpahics. There has been studies that show that in case of people with disposable income, music downloads actually INCREASE compact disc purchase. I know that is my case. I sample and try new music, just because I know I am not wasting my money. When I find something I like I go out and buy their CD (or CDs, or even all of their CDs), because I want higher (and consistent) quality than the 128kbps mp3, ripped without jitter control. My CD purchase volume went up 50-80% just because soulseek. Thievery Corp (and other Eighteen Street Lounge artists) got my money in form of CD payments. I would have never discovered them without soulseek.

This ties into Apple’s extremely weak attempt of peddling online music. I do not want AAC at 128kbps, even if it is better than 128kbps MP3. I want 256kbps MP3 (or AAC) without DRM. Or better yet, one of the loosless compressions. Bandwidth is cheap and I got time, but I can’t accept inferior quality products even if they are slightly cheaper (ie. ~$10 bux for an album vs. ~$12-$16 for a CD, not mentioning the cover art, etc).

Apple, make some effort and INNOVATE!

Posted by pbox on June 20, 2003 at 8:46 AM (PDT)

5

can i just say this: there is no stop to music file sharing. and there certainly never will be. it is part of our modern american society, and we, the consumer, and they, the artists/industry must acknowledge this as such. the next course of action should not be penalizing downloaders (as it would be virtually impossible to persecute these millions upon millions of users…additionally, even if the government steps in and shuts down these popular sites like kazaa and winmx, others will spring up. also, we will still have numerous alternative methods: friends with cd/dvd burners, or line-in recorders, etc.); rather, they should focus more upon their live performances, and display their true talents (if they have any) at varied venues for all to enjoy, rather than expecting us to buy recorded, edited, impure music. or, at the very least, simply lower these outrageous cd prices. as a 16 year old avid punk/rock/alt music fan, i confess to downloading ALL my music, save for my core base of favorite artists. i must add that this is not in disrespect to the artist, but rather in the fact that sears pays me 7.25 an hour and i’m not about to lay down $10-20 on just one compact disc with 10 tracks on it. moreover, i won’t begin to get into how i feel about ALL celebrities as it is. i frankly don’t want to hear ANYTHING from even remotely-heard-of artists, who complain that the internet is detracting from their fiscal well-being. if you simply get media coverage, if i have ever heard of you on tv, you are loaded. where’s the concern for the average working man, who gets jipped in life 24/7? i know many may disagree with me, but this is only my opinion. feel free to criticize.

Posted by joe on June 20, 2003 at 5:34 PM (PDT)

6

“Curiuosly RIAA left out the older demogrpahics. There has been studies that show that in case of people with disposable income, music downloads actually INCREASE compact disc purchase.”

So true, so true! Sick and tired of radio music (I now only use the radio for news), I have been spending my time exploring genres and artists that I had only a brushing familiarity with. Eg: when I wanted to know what “A Love Supreme” sounded like, I Acquisitioned a piece of it, then bought the CD. I don’t want no lousy MP3s somebody else encoded. I want my own CD.

I do believe that the music industry has brought this on itself. Having worked in commercial radio for twenty years (I am no longer!), it’s so easy to see in hindsight. Once The suits saw the sales of “Thriller”, nothing has been the same.

Posted by Doug Adams on June 21, 2003 at 2:16 PM (PDT)

7

Make better music and the sales will rise. The music in the last 4 or 5 years has been nothing but garbage ( for lack of better words ). Another thing, who buys 29 cd’s a year? my god, that’s almost 2 albums per month. Im not that eratic with my purchases.

Another thing, if they have so little money how come mariah carey got 80 million +24 million after her break down. Its a bunch of crock.

Posted by Stasyna on June 21, 2003 at 8:09 PM (PDT)

8

“Another thing, who buys 29 cd’s a year?”

I know I’ve purchased over 50 in the past year from Amazon alone : )

Posted by Doug Adams on June 21, 2003 at 8:28 PM (PDT)

9

I get about 10-15 free CDs a week 0 but I still buy around 100 or so a year - no surprise, it’s mostly older stuff…HMMM, maybe that’s the issue?  Bad music?  I think…

Posted by scottb on June 22, 2003 at 3:57 PM (PDT)

10

Record Exec : “I don’t understand it! We’ve spent the past 50 years creating a ‘youth culture’  that’s rebellious and anti-authoritarian so they’d buy the music of our carefully groomed ‘rebels’, and now these kids are disobeying the law!”

Posted by eustacescrubb in Yellow Springs. OH on June 23, 2003 at 3:54 AM (PDT)

11

I like quality not quantity, so I like to buy my CD’s and put them on my ipod.  Then i like to break the cd’s

Posted by Zen_Army on September 24, 2003 at 9:31 AM (PDT)

12

no comment!

Posted by faye capio on April 10, 2004 at 2:04 AM (PDT)

13

these kids are totally out of control like they are totally disobeying the law and it it not like they dont realize it.i dont have an ipod and i am totally ok with purchasing cd’s.its not that much.

Posted by kera henry on March 17, 2007 at 3:55 PM (PDT)

14

Downloading: insurance against blind leaps of faith.  Never again will any band make money (from me) unless they put out records containing good stuff all the way through.  The days of one or two good songs accompanied by a load of ‘filler’ are over…at least so far as I am concerned.

Posted by kile mansly on June 26, 2008 at 11:12 AM (PDT)

15

I personally believe that if the quality of the music that is being released today was much better than it is, we wouldn’t be having this issue because more people would want to buy cds to listen to the artist. The problem is the quality of the music. Teens hear one crappy song that has a nice beat and all they want to is have it so they can party to it. Teens today do not care about the quality of the music (some of them don’t even listen to the lyrics) they just want to party. So I say, get these kids to appreciate music in all its glory. Play music that is of good quality and maybe they will understand. Illegal music downloading IS wrong but it can be stopped.

Posted by hippiechick08 on April 13, 2010 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

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