Tuesday, 3 November 2009

File sharers spend big

Does it come as a surprise to ANYONE the recent news that the most prolific music file sharers are also the most prolific spenders?

In a recent BBC news report on file sharing which discusses a recent survey conducted by MORI, it states that the average file sharer also spends an average of £77 a year on paid for music.

Is that it? In my music buying heyday, I used to trot off to Berwick Street and spend around £80 EVERY Saturday. I had some awesome stuff to show for it too - promos, bootlegs, rare deleted releases.

However, this really rings true for me. Most people who have a passing interest in anything maintain just a moderate level of interest. If you're not a diehard U2 fan, are you really going to take the time to find and visit file sharing sites, when iTunes is right there?

The problem with legit outlets like iTunes is they still don't have all the variations of a release that a fan might want. Take the Voxigen remix of "I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing" by Pet Shop Boys. I scoured the shops for months searching for this. The CD this was on was only released in Holland, and to acquire it would cost me around £40 (if I could ever find it). Of this £40, neither the label nor the band would see a penny of this. This remix has yet to show up on any legit download site.

This new news about file sharer spending further muddies the water of the cut and dry scenario bodies like the RIAA are advertising, mainly file sharing is theft, thus must be punished. I believe that enough people who actually know what they're talking about (and I don't include the RIAA) will agree that the best way to discover new music is via services like file sharing, free downloads and - more and more - streaming services like Spotify.

With services like Spotify and We7 now replacing the need for ownership with access, the question of piracy and file sharing could soon be a thing of the past if only they could get their catalogues in order. With issues like international licensing still an issue, this won't be resolved any time soon.
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