File Trading up 10% or Down 15%?

By Robert Menta 7/15/03

I guess it all depends on whom you ask. Recently, two reports were released that display contradicting results regarding that activity known as file trading. In both cases, the authors/statisticians were looking to see if threats made by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) to sue individual file traders had any affect on the habits of millions of Americans who swap songs on the Net.

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The first report, conducted by a research firm named the Yankee Group, A division of Reuters, shows that file trading increased after the RIAA's announcement. This result seems to display an act of defiance by file traders, who the Yankee Group number at 56 million. For anyone who watched Napster's service grow exponentially as a result of the publicity generated by record lobby legal threats, this does not sound surprising.

But wait, a second report soon followed claiming the opposite results during the same period. Nielsen Net Ratings, a division of the company that measures TV viewership for ad rates, also did a study. Nielsen found that activity on KaZaa, the leading file sharing platform, fell 15% in the week following the RIAA's announcement. According to their statistics, traffic on Morpheus also fell 15%, while traffic on iMesh fell 16%. So, whom should we believe?

It seems that both the RIAA and the file trade services have latched on to the survey they find most self-serving. So, I say either way it is a push.

Anyway, while a change of 10-15% is a significant value, spot reactions to specific events may be less meaningful here than longer term trends. So far, as most observers agree, those trends indicate that file trading is on the rise.

So check back again in December and see where the numbers lie, pun intended.


Other MP3 stories:
Copy Protection and the Reasonable Man
Review: Neuros MP3 Digital Audio Computer

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