By Richard Menta 12/8/05
Only 2% of people who paid a fee to download music from the Internet cited that the contentious legal issues surrounding online music distribution concerned them. This statistic comes from Ipsos-Reid's latest research on the consumption of digital media titled "Cultivating Desire: Investing in Market Insights to Reap Digital Content Profits". This particular paper focuses on ways for content providers to tap into the Internet as an evolving distribution mechanism of mass media. The shockingly low number should come as a warning to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) who have so far sued thousands for file sharing in the expectation that they can scare consumers in buying instead of trading. First, this is not a way to tap into this audience and second the tactic isn't working.
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Of course, the continued growth of activity on the various file sharing networks attest to that. These lawsuits are part of a dubious awareness plan among the major record labels to take control of online music delivery. According to ths Ipsos research, either consumers are rejecting that notion or the word is not getting out enough.
But 2%? Even allowing for the normal statistical deviations this is a tiny response. The fact that this number arrives from interviews with those who buy their music (and thus theoretically should have nothing to fear) doesn't remove the fact that the great majority of those who buy music from iTunes and other services also trade them on eDonkey and KaZaa. There are 10 millon file traders at any given time on the various P2P networks, which demonstrates the magnitude of file sharing. If the Ipsos research is accurate, the collective response from this group is 'you can't catch me'.
That may be true. Your personal chances of being sued by the RIAA are equal to winning the lottery. Divide 15,000 lawsuits by over 70 million US file sharers and the odds of being selected are pretty remote. That's little solace to the likes of Patricia Santangelo and Brianna Lahara who won this lottery.
So will the record and movie industries sue even more people? Will they create more public relations spots with Madonna to chastise users on the evils of file sharing? If they do the research suggests that they will only widen the growing disconnect between them and the consumer. It is this disconnect that Ipsos reveals will most derail attempts to "Reap Digital Content Profits"
The Ipsos report has other findings which we shall soon report on.
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First RIAA P2P File Share Trial