Music Industry Study Claims Warning Letters Decrease Filesharing

There’s a German study that was released that suggests that file-sharing is dropping thanks to the warning letters being sent to users.

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

A study by the music industry claims (Google translation) that file-sharing has dropped from 316 million from last year to 258 million.

“The study refutes the widespread view that it is in sharing users mostly children and teenagers who can not afford the desired products,” says association director Stefan Michalk. The parts in pre-release study that is the “typical file sharers” male and 20-39 years old. Among the 10 – to 19-year-olds do not even use each in ten (9 percent), the illegal deals.

The industry argues that this was a clear sign that sending out warning letters is having a clear effect in the file-sharing world. So we decided to take a look at the study (Google translation, original with graphics, but in German) which was apparently conducted by GfK Media.

The sample size was 10,000 people being followed for 10 years and representing 63.8 million users. The information was based on, of all things, a survey.

With the numbers the German industry tries to show is that most people agree that file-sharing is immoral and that people are leaving the networks entirely.

When reading the study, there is one very noticeable thing that is completely absent, how many people are going on to purchase content afterwards. The big question this particular study does not answer is are people leaving unauthorized sources for authorized sources or are they so sick and tired of mainstream content that they are not even bothering entirely? If one wants to celebrate that file-sharing is decreasing in Germany, wouldn’t it be suitable to, in the same stroke, praise how authorized sources are increasing in customers? While this study touts a victory, it’s, at best, a hollow victory because it shows that the industry has way bigger problems then people downloading illegitimately. When people won’t download your stuff for free, that’s not only a failure, but a real catastrophe for the industry. The problem would be worse then in France where the three strikes law is actually increasing file-sharing.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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