CRIA’s Study Contradicts Own Claims

At the beginning of the month, the CRIA, Canadian equivalent of the RIAA, gained attention from various news sources over a study that they claimed demonstrated file-sharing was to blame for “an almost decade-long [downward] spiral”.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

On the contrary, the Pollera study they cite, now released in full, contradicts the claim.

The Pollara study even suggests that CD ripping is the number one source for Canadians’ music. Ripped CD’s made 36.4% of the total source of music, while P2P networks came in second at 32.6% (stated on page 56)

Remaining consistent with other studies, page 70 of the Pollara study states that people who download copyrighted music on file-sharing networks will also frequently buy the same music, ringing true to the claim that file-sharing is an extension of ‘try before you buy’. Interestingly enough, in 2004, the president of the CRIA dismissed such studies.

Also contradicting an earlier claim that the 18 to 29 age demographic will download music without paying for it, the now fully released Pollara study states that people of the same age demographic are the second largest purchasers of music, with 13 to 17 year olds buying the most CD’s and DVD’s (page 29).

So what does the study say about the decline of music CD’s? Only 10% said available music downloads caused them to buy fewer CD’s. So where’s the other 90% going? Michael Geist notes from the study, “people cited a long list of alternatives that have nothing to do with downloading including price (16%), nothing of interest (14%), lack of time (13%), collection is big enough (9%), don’t buy (7%), listen to radio (7%), change in tastes (6%), no CD player (3%), have an MP3 player (2%), lack of opportunity to buy (2%), watch more tv (2%), age (1%), only buy what I like (1%).”

So with file-sharing statistically proving to assist paid for content, all claims by the CRIA stating that file-sharing is hurting music sales is proven false by their own study.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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