Filesharers Spend More Money on Music, Survey Finds

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Filesharers Spend More Money on Music, Survey Finds

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A survey of UK residents has found that on average, people who download music illegally also spend an average of £77 a year buying it legitimately - considerably more than those who who don't download at all.

The results of the survey, which interviewed a total of 1008 people - not the largest sample size, but not tiny either - and was commissioned by researchers Demos, are rather interesting. Though members of the music industry blame pirates for declining revenues, the survey found that illegal filesharers tend to spend more money on buying music legally than those who walk the straight-and-narrow path all the time.

Of those questioned between the ages of 16 and 50, only one in every 10 admitted to using sites like The Pirate Bay to download songs and albums - but of that group, 80% said they also bought media legitimately, whether CDs, MP3s, or even classic vinyl. The filesharers spent a yearly average of £77 ($126.24, €85.48) on their legal music; the people who denied using illegal services only spent an average of £44 ($72.14, €48.85).

Half of those polled said that they listened to music through official channels on YouTube, while 22% used internet radio services. Only 4% used once-mighty Napster (now legal), and 21% of the respondents hadn't even heard of the filesharing pioneer.

It seems that for many, the sticking point is price - 75% of 16-24-year-olds who responded said that they would be okay with paying for MP3s provided the price was right. The "sweet spot" of pricing seemed to be £0.45, or $0.74, and only 2% said they would buy songs if the cost was over £1.

"Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access to music," said Peter Bradwell, a researcher for Demos involved in the project.

Though a spokesperson for the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that while illegal filesharing was still a severe problem facing the industry, and cautioned people to take the survey with a grain of salt, the findings were heartening and were indicative of positive changes. "[It's] encouraging that the findings signal that the three-pronged approach set out by the Government this week - a mix of education, enforcement and attractive new commercial deals - provides the best way forward for industry and consumers."

Of course, this assumes that all those involved with the poll told the truth, so...

(Thanks, leeloodallasmultipass)

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Pretty much the truth. While I may pirate a LOT of music, I also spend the majority of my cash on purchasing cd's, a LOT of vinyl, and tickets for shows and merch from the bands (always get it directly from the bands at the shows, it's how they make most of their money). Just goes to show what pirating a little music can really do for the musicians. Go ahead and flame, I know I support the artists I love.

Hah.
And they want to ban downloading (Yeah, yeah, there are still people who don't buy the CD's, yacka yacka)
They probably only use it to preview-listen to music.

Although, I have a feeling at least some of them lied...

Hmmm... interesting. although most of the stuff they do buy is probably Lady Gaga or other crap.
There isn't much music that I do want to go buy anyway. unfortunately. I think.

CantFaketheFunk:
considerably more than those who who don't download at all.

Mechanicus sense is screaming. it wants to kill me.

While this supports much of what I was thinking already, filesharers tend to self-justify quite a bit. So in filling out a survey, im a bit worried about this groupthink mentality clouding the results of the poll.

This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

I do have a feeling those who say they don't use illegal file sharing lied, but I do believe those who was honest about using illegal file sharing actually use that much money. I am one of those who happen to have a few classic vinyl records to go with my CD's and the illegal files I've downloaded. If I like the music I download I buy it if it is possible... we don't get much of the alternative music... or good music for that sake.

This is true of my music buying habits. I don't download any songs, nor do I buy them. I rely on internet radio like Pandora to get my completely legal music fix.

Interesting findings. Maybe the pirates just don't have enough money to buy all the music they want.

This sounds pretty accurate. I'll pirate something and if I like it, I'll buy it. Generally that means I'll spend about $50 bucks a year in stores and another $70 or so at concerts.

On CD's.

Edit: I don't bother with iTunes or similar programs. They're pretty terrible.

Virgil:
This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

I completely agree. I really have a hard time accepting that to be true. And honestly, that sample size is unbelievably small.

Hmmm only one in ten admit to DL'ing, yeah that numbers accurate.... I think 95% of PC's i've run across has frostwire or limewire on it. Come to think of it I don't know anyone without it. Also relying on someones word as to how much they spent is just ridiculous.

Proteus214:

Virgil:
This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

I completely agree. I really have a hard time accepting that to be true. And honestly, that sample size is unbelievably small.

How big do you think survey samples are? 1000 is plenty for a statistically significant result.

cobra_ky:

Proteus214:

Virgil:
This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

I completely agree. I really have a hard time accepting that to be true. And honestly, that sample size is unbelievably small.

How big do you think survey samples are? 1000 is plenty for a statistically significant result.

Sure, it's statistically significant...for a small portion of the UK only. To take these results and make assumptions that this is anywhere near significant to the population digital media users all over the world is more than likely not accurate.

I pirate a lot of shit, but I buy a lot of shit. And, I mostly just pirate one song here and there that I need for a movie I'm making for a school project or some sort of commemorative DVD for a trip or a wedding or that sort of thing. I more than make up the cost of the songs I pirate (almost always from people have way too much money in the first place) with legally purchasing music.

The same sort of goes for video games - it does go for video games that I could buy (GBA games only, really), but not for old snes games. And I would never pirate new games that came out, if I had a DS cart or whatever, for the same principle why I don't pirate indy bands (and I mean bands that don't even make enough money to break even, not the style of music) - I vote with my money, voting for "I want more of this stuff on the market."

Learn something new everyday.

How about people who pirate music tend to be the people who are really into their music? A lot people only really listen to the radio and get the odd NOW CD for Christmas (those people won't be pirates), where as the people who pirate tend to have an interest in the industry and finding bands/singers they really enjoy, so they pirate because they can't afford to keep up with the many bands/singers they're into and buy albums for bands they really like.

They'll also tend to be the people who go to a lot of gigs (where the bands/singers make their money).

Virgil:
This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

On a related note. Until I started using zune marketplace I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever purchased music.

Now that I can effectively listen to all music ever for 15 bucks a month I actually buy tracks sometimes.

theultimateend:
On a related note. Until I started using zune marketplace I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever purchased music.

♥ ZunePass

By the way, if you add your gamertag to your profile here, your recently listened to Zune music also shows up. It's an undocumented feature :P

Virgil:

theultimateend:
On a related note. Until I started using zune marketplace I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever purchased music.

♥ ZunePass

By the way, if you add your gamertag to your profile here, your recently listened to Zune music also shows up. It's an undocumented feature :P

Zunepass is so badass to me. As for your point on the gamertag. I had no idea. I'll have to look into it sometime.

I can see it now on a FPS.

"Dude...you are listening to Enya? Totally not AXE Bodyspary awesome."

I took some personal freedom with what it was totally not since I assume everyone online asshole is touting half a gallon of AXE on them ;).

Assuming the rest of the methodology is good, ~1000 is the number of cases for most surveys. That means, a representitive sample.

Proteus214:

Virgil:
This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

I completely agree. I really have a hard time accepting that to be true. And honestly, that sample size is unbelievably small.

Yeah, I think this is more about having "a hard time accepting that to be true" than about the accuracy of the survey. Sort of like how people won't believe that sexual education and condoms work better for preventing the spread of STDs than Abstinence-Only approaches.

Virgil:
This survey doesn't tell us that people that pirate music buy more music, this actually tells us that people who will admit to pirating music on a survey also claim to spend more money than others. There are undoubtedly a good number of people who took the survey and lied about pirating music, and the people who do pirate music and admit it are very likely to inflate the amount they claim to purchase to try to justify their actions. You can't trust people to accurately report their behavior when it comes to something like this.

I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

Let me add a little bit to that. Yes, there is a correlation between pirating and buying music if you assume the results are reliable. But there is no way to say if pirating music, causes people to buy it too. People who like music are more likely to pirate, and buy music. If someone does not like music, they won't pirate it or buy it because they don't want it.

If there is one thing you can learn from a statistics class, it is never to trust statistics.

Virgil:

theultimateend:
On a related note. Until I started using zune marketplace I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever purchased music.

♥ ZunePass

By the way, if you add your gamertag to your profile here, your recently listened to Zune music also shows up. It's an undocumented feature :P

I'll often download music illegally, but I also purchase MP3s online in about equal amounts. It mostly depends on how easy or how hard any given album or track within an album costs.

If it's something I really want, I try to spend money on it. If I don't feel like spending money on it, I figure I don't really want it that much and ignore it. Sometimes it's just not practical, like when trying to find videogame music that I want; it's not available for purchase in stores or iTunes, and I don't enjoy importing things. In those cases I download them illegally.

Virgil:
I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

Starke:
Assuming the rest of the methodology is good, ~1000 is the number of cases for most surveys. That means, a representitive sample.

Sorry Starke, but I'm with Virgil here. To call a ~1000 strong survey representative of a multi-million consumer industry is just impossible. It's not even 1%. Not even 0.1% of the total. It's obviously a very high total... but to call that tiny, teeny sample "representative" of the whole consumer-base cannot be justified by my reckoning.

I read the BBC report, too. There's no mention of the survey's method - is it voluntary? Was it on a website? Was it telemarketted? All these things have huge implications on the credibility and accuracy of the survey, but they're conveniently not mentioned...

Besides all of that, check out this quote from the article.

Spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.:
"While surveys asking people about unlawful behaviour should be treated with caution, it's encouraging that the findings signal that the three-pronged approach set out by the Government this week - a mix of education, enforcement and attractive new commercial deals - provides the best way forward for industry and consumers."

That's right! They A) understand that it's almost certain to be full of liars, and B) don't seem to have read their own survey results: this piracy thing is apparently -increasing- revenue, if you go by this report: file sharers spend more. Which is why we need to fight them, of course.

It's logically sounds. While pirates listen to way more music than they buy, I'd wager the ease of access brings up the amount of music they listen too. Bring up the amount, and there's a directly greater chance they'll find stuff they decide to buy. As opposed to people who don't listen to much music and save their money for one lady gaga album a year.

Fenixius:

Virgil:
I consider surveys like this to be barely above making up numbers - they're good for internet forum fodder and nothing else.

Starke:
Assuming the rest of the methodology is good, ~1000 is the number of cases for most surveys. That means, a representitive sample.

Sorry Starke, but I'm with Virgil here. To call a ~1000 strong survey representative of a multi-million consumer industry is just impossible. It's not even 1%. Not even 0.1% of the total. It's obviously a very high total... but to call that tiny, teeny sample "representative" of the whole consumer-base cannot be justified by my reckoning.

I read the BBC report, too. There's no mention of the survey's method - is it voluntary? Was it on a website? Was it telemarketted? All these things have huge implications on the credibility and accuracy of the survey, but they're conveniently not mentioned...

Besides all of that, check out this quote from the article.

Spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.:
"While surveys asking people about unlawful behaviour should be treated with caution, it's encouraging that the findings signal that the three-pronged approach set out by the Government this week - a mix of education, enforcement and attractive new commercial deals - provides the best way forward for industry and consumers."

That's right! They A) understand that it's almost certain to be full of liars, and B) don't seem to have read their own survey results: this piracy thing is apparently -increasing- revenue, if you go by this report: file sharers spend more. Which is why we need to fight them, of course.

You can get 99.5% validity confidance on a nation wide survey if you use the proper sampling methods. Like I said, this only applies IF the methodology is good, which this survey probably isn't. If the methodology is bad, such as internet or phone surveys, you're going to have problems. An internet survey is what's called "self selecting," which is essentially a fancy way of saying "next to worthless." This is because the sample isn't representitive. Now, in a self selecting sample, you have a slightly better chance of honesty, including people admiting to illegal actions, but, it really doesn't mean anything at all.

All I was saying was a sample size of a little over 1000 is enough for statistically signifigant results IF the methodology is good.

EDIT: There's two factors at work here though:

First, and I've seen this way too many times. People who use the internet to pirate copyrighted data tend to be awfually quick to justify their actions. Part of this is a psycological structure that causes individuals to generally have a hard time viewing their own actions as harmful without a justifying cause. (I'm phrasing this poorly, sorry.)

The second is: Research data will get a lot more attention if it says something you don't expect, or contradicts commonly held perceptions. When an article or research produces a result that "everyone already knew" no one really has a reason to care. In the media this can result in a rather paradoxical problem. Everyone knows that piracy is tearing apart the entertainment industry, so a study that says this isn't the case will get more attention than fifty or sixty studies saying what we already know.

EDIT2: I must be more tired than I thought, mybad.

I would never have known about Punk Rock and Heavy Metal without filesharing (you ever heard it on a radio?) and would never have bought the CDs I did. Seriously, anyone with a taste in music that's not the samey-grindy pop stuff they play on the radio has little chance of learning about his style of music without that.

I don't do filesharing anymore but I do still listen to Heavy Metal (and even bought Brütal Legend because of it).

This is so misleading. In case you're completely thick, filesharing doesn't MAKE these people buy music legitimately. It just means they LIKE music. I highly doubt they use it to preview music. They download some albums- some they don't really like, but, wtf? it's free, right?- and then buy ones they do like.

uh hurr durr

imageI both pirate and purchase, and it is the piracy that leads me to the purchasing. I hear a song I like, find out who it's by, then download other songs by that artist to see if it's just a fluke attraction to that one song, or an artist I could actually listen to. If I find I can't stand the rest of their music, or not enough of it to merit an album purchase then I don't buy the CD. But if, like with so very many bands, I find I like a bunch of their songs, I typically buy their album.

It all comes down to money. I can get it free, so the only reason to purchase is if they put forth something worth purchasing. Case and point, Phil Collins (pictured left). Love his work, love dozens of his songs, but haven't bought an album yet because he released so fucking many CDs, all with only one or two good songs on them. Even his "greatest hits" compilations are only 1/4 hits, 3/4 the shits. A man could go broke trying to collect the good songs of Phil Collins or Genesis, and then you have two dozen discs with only one or two songs on each, you find you're changing CDs every second fucking song. A real pain in the ass in the car I tell you.

Flip that around to another band I like, Heart, who's compilation "Essential Heart" is two discs containing every single hit song they wrote. I downloaded all their hit songs, but still bought the CD, and if my discs go missing or get damaged, I will repurchase the album because they made an album worth owning.

Virgil:

By the way, if you add your gamertag to your profile here, your recently listened to Zune music also shows up. It's an undocumented feature :P

ahhh the good old undocumented "feature", tho this one might actually be a handy one

either way i think there is some truth to the survey, it might be a bit skewed but i know i'm more willing to buy a cd of a band i've never heard of if i've had a chance to listen to it first. considering most of the stuff i listen to isn't played on the radio, pirating is about the only way i have to hear them

While I agree that there's no way to call this definitive proof of anything, I do find it is representative of my own music buying habits. I definitely buy more CDs now than I did before I discovered the existence of file sharing networks. I was often reluctant to buy music by bands whose music I wasn't familiar with, regardless of recommendations. Now that I have a way to sample the music beforehand, I've bought quite a lot of albums I wouldn't have purchased otherwise, and have even bought legit copies of albums I've already downloaded if I particularly liked them.

I've even expanded the range of music I listen to. I wouldn't have gone anywhere near the metal section of a music store before a few months ago, now I go looking for bands I've heard of from browsing Wikipedia.

I dunno, I'd have to see how they got these numbers. I'm wary of the results of most any survey.

Really, I doubt that the people who ONLY fileshared admitted to filesharing. At least the people who admitted probably felt partly justified from their large spending in between.

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