By Richard Menta 3/23/05
For the last few years the record industry has experienced drops in CD sales and blamed it all on file sharing. All of it.
They did not blame the recession, which conveniently coincided with this sales drop. They did not blame the DVD, which held no floor space in record stores when Napster first appeared in 1999, but now accounts for 50% - as in half - of all the floor space in every record store in the nation (another interesting bit of timing).
They did not blame a number of other factors that may have accounted for this drop. That's OK, the movie industry also blames file sharing for lost sales and they have never experienced a loss, setting yet another box office record this year.
Now the record industry is reporting a gain. According to the Record Industry Association of America "the number of CDs shipped domestically from record companies to retail distribution channels rose 5.3 percent -- a 2.7 percent increase in value -- in 2004, compared to the previous year".
At the same time as CD shipments jumped, file trading became more popular. According to Big Champagne the numer of US monthly average simultaneous file shareres in January of 2004 was 3,528,419. By November of 2004 that number was up to 5,445,200, almost 2 million simultaneous users more!
If CD sales are up and file sharing is dramatically up AND according to the RIAA there is a direct coorelation between file sharing activity and CD sales then the answer is simple.
File sharing sells CDs.
This is the RIAA's reasoning, not my own, though I have made a strong case for it in articles such as my October 2000 essay " Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1?" and others.
There you have it. File sharing sells CDs. Now repeat it again and tell it to the Supreme Court.
Call it a non-infringing use.
The Samsung Yepp YH-999 20 GB Portable Media Center is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
What Makes a Journalist? Thoughts on Apple and Think Secret
iTunes Prices Too High
Can Free Broadcast TV Really Be Napsterized?