They really are prosecuting their biggest customers in the effort to pinch more pennies. For the MP/RIAA’s perspective they’re combating what the grocery business calls “Shrinkage”: different from the shrinkage George Costanza had in Seinfeld this one refers to items lost to theft or damage.
But they’re wrong, there is a logic gap between walking out of Albertsons with an unpaid bag of potato chips and somebody downloading a song for free off the internet.
First I’m going to skip the fact that technically we can record music off broadcast radio and still get it without paying ( the only reason internet recording gets prosecuted is it’s easier to track).
No the difference here is that just because somebody downloaded a song illigally DOES NOT mean that they would have bought it if it’s wasn’t available for free. This is a very important fact so I’m going to state it again:
Mike “The Bruiser” Simmons who normally listens to Pantera downloads Britney Spears’ album “Blackout”; if the internet didn’t exist he wouldn’t have normally brought this album. He was just curious about it since his niece was always raving about Britney. RIAA did not lose any money when he downloaded this album because the downloaded album was not downloaded in place of a potentially purchased album.
Many people, including the movie and music industry, think that this is just the excuse downloaders make to justify their theft. Well guess what the facts say?
On average Downloaders make MORE legitimate purchases than others.
However I didn’t need a study to tell me tell me this, I’m one of the downloaders that seems much of my money flow out of my pocket to music purchases. I’m the Mike Simmons from above (that’s not really my name, I made it up). I admit it, I download music, alot of it. But in the number of CDs I buy I also out purchase everybody I know by 5-10 times. I budget $60 a month in CD purchases and thanks to wise spending that equates to 8-10 new CDs a month. And I can’t count the number of times that something I downloaded on a whim became a favorite of mine and led to another 2-6 Cd purchases.
Yet from the RIAA perspective I’m stealing from them; but again for every $10 the average person spends in music I spend $100. In fact I just realized I didn’t figure in concert attendance, to tack on another $60 a month plus $40 a month to the venue’s bar in alcohol purchases. If you had a customer that was spending $120 a month compared to others who spend $10 would you take them to court and turn them into your enemy, or try to find a way to appeal to them through the downloads and try to turn them onto to more music they might like and spend money on?
I’ve left off the whole mess of the fact that somebody who likes why they hear after downloading begins to tell others what music they like through “Word of Mouth” marketing; the holy grail of all marketing.
BTW: Blackout was actually pretty good, forget what you think about Britney Spears and give it a chance.
Pics of my current CD collection: