Many of you may know that I live in the Nashville area. Nashville is known for music and we have many friends in the business. As you might suspect, music piracy is taken very seriously here.
That’s why I was interested to read a comprehensive study from The American Assembly, a non-partisan public affairs forum affiliated with Columbia University. They conducted the Copy Culture Survey, based on thousands of phone interviews in the United States and Germany. The group released part of the results, which show that people who download music illegally also buy more music than those who don’t.
The research found that in the United States, people who download pirated music have larger music libraries—around 37% larger than those who download only legal songs. “But some of it also comes from significantly higher legal purchases of digital music than their non-P2P using peers—around 30% higher among U.S. P2P users,” Joe Karaganis from American Assembly explained.
He added: “Our data is quite clear on this point and lines up with numerous other studies. The biggest music pirates are also the biggest spenders on recorded music.” Compared to the United States, in Germany the figures stack up even higher, with pirates buying nearly three times as much digital music as the legal downloaders, the study found.
While peer-to-peer sharing of files is the most prevalent form of illegally acquiring music files, in the United States, according to the survey, 29% of those under 30 listen to most all of their music via streaming services. However, only 11% of those have a paid subscription, which would indicate that music streaming services play a similar role to pirated music: try before you buy.
The music industry was perhaps one of the first to experience a digital disruption. Others—like the book publishing business—are not far behind. But the response of the Recording Industry of America was to sue its best customers. It’s a strategy that doesn’t seem to have worked very well.
How will you respond?
What assumptions are you making when planning for your agency’s future? Will you respond like many industries and keep your head in the sand? Or, will you look to the future and try to see what opportunities digital disruption provides?
If something can be done, it will be done. And if you don’t do it, then someone else will. Commit to being an agency that is willing to embrace change and explore how you can take advantage of the opportunities created by disruption.