Artists, Musicians Love the Net

By Jon Newton 12/07/04

Overall, artists and musicians don’t believe “unauthorized” online file-sharing poses a major threat to creative industries.

“Two-thirds of artists say peer-to-peer file sharing poses a minor threat or no threat at all,” says a new Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, Artists, Musicians and the Internet.

Successful and struggling artists and musicians surveyed are more likely to say the Net made it possible for them to make more money from their art than they are to say it's made it harder to protect their work from piracy or unlawful use, says the study, going on:


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“Of those artists who download music files, most think that downloading has not really changed the total amount they spend on music purchases like CDs, concerts, or other music products (58% say this).

“Another 29% say they think downloading has actually increased what they spend on music purchases overall, and 13% say it has decreased their purchases.

“Likewise, among artists who either download music or video files, 86% say that when they download files for free, they usually end up supporting the artist or author in other ways, such as buying a CD or book or going to a performance.

“Just over half of all artists who download music or video files say they can’t always tell if it’s legal or illegal to download media files from the internet. More than two-thirds of the sample said they don’t currently pay to download any type of media files, but they would if the price, quality and choice they want become available.”

However, “At the same time, they believe that unauthorized online file sharing is wrong and that current copyright laws are appropriate, though there are some major divisions among them about what constitutes appropriate copying and sharing of digital files,” says.Pew.

Describing the ten million or so Americans who earn at least some money from performances, songs, paintings, videos, sculptures, photos or creative writing as the people on the front lines in the Digital Age, “Their passions, and in many cases their livelihoods, depend on public policies that encourage creativity and reward creation,” says the report.

“They are the ones whose work is most directly affected by the technology that allows works of art to be digitized and sold online – from music to movies to books to art – and allows for easy copying and free sharing of those digitized files.”

In the survey:

* “Artists” are people who described themselves as artists, and who were interviewed in Pew’s artist callback survey.
* “Paid Artists” are musicians, writers or filmmakers in the callback survey who are paid for their art.
* “Digitized Artists” are those whose artwork (music or pictures or words) have been digitized.
* “Musicians” are those self-identified musical performers and songwriters who responded to an online survey.

More than three-quarters of all artists (77%) and 83% of Paid Artists use the Net, compared to 63% of the entire population, the study says, going on, “Many site specific gains in their careers from their use of the internet.”

*52% of all online artists and 59% of Paid Online Artists say they get ideas and inspiration for their work from searching online.
* 30% of all online artists and 45% of Paid Online Artists say the internet is important in helping them create and/or distribute their art.
* 23% of all online artists and 41% of Paid Online Artists say the internet has helped them in their creative pursuits and careers.
* 4% of all online artists and 8% of Paid Online Artists say the internet has made it much harder for their work to get noticed.
* 3% of all online artists and 6% of Paid Online Artists say the internet has had a major deleterious effect on their ability to protect their creative works.
* 23% of all online artists and 45% of Paid Online Artists report using the internet or email to promote, advertise or display their art.
* 23% of all online artists and 41% of Paid Online Artists say they personally use the internet or email to keep in touch with fans of their art.
* 21% of all online artists and 44% of Paid Online Artists use the internet to schedule performances and other promotional events.
* 20% of all online artists and 38% of Paid Online Artists say they have used the internet or email to provide free samples or previews of their art to the public.

Findings at a Glance

32 million Americans consider themselves artists and about 10 million of them get some kind of compensation for their creations and performances.

American artists have embraced the internet as a creative and inspiration-enhancing workspace where they can communicate, collaborate, and promote their work.

Notable numbers of artists say the internet has been a boon to their marketing efforts.

For some artists, the internet has had a helpful social impact as they network with other artists, communicate with their fans, and stay in touch with friends when they are on the road.

Artists are divided, but not deeply concerned about the file-sharing that happens online. They want control over their creations, but most do not say internet piracy is a big threat.

Artists think unauthorized peer-to-peer file-sharing should be illegal, and most would go after the companies, rather than individual file-sharers.

Artists are split about what constitutes fair use of digital material.

Online artists are also active consumers of media content online. But those who download files say if they get content for free, they usually support the artist or author in other ways.

 

Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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Other MP3 stories:
iPod Killers for Christmas Part I
iPod Killers for Christmas Part II
iPod Killers for Christmas Part III
iPod Killers for Christmas Part IV

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