updated 11:16 am EDT, Fri May 18, 2012
Leaked album piracy raised sales by 60 on average
A recent study has found that raised BitTorrent piracy may be related to higher album sales. North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond monitored prerelease albums being downloaded through BitTorrent and compared the numbers with actual album sales. The investigation is said to have uncovered a direct correlation between the two, albeit minor.
The paper, titled "Profit Leak? Pre-Release File Sharing and the Music Industry", explains how Hammond gathered download statistics from a large private BitTorrent tracker dedicated to music between May 2010 and January 2011, and comparing instances of leaked album downloads against eventual sales. After monitoring 1,095 albums, Hammond noted "The findings suggest that file sharing of an album benefits its sales. I don't find any evidence of a negative effect in any specification using any instrument."
Although the effect is positive to album sales, the increase was found to be 59.6 additional purchases on average. The study did not consider BitTorrent downloads after release, nor does it take into account singles sales more associated with "casual piracy."
Historically, entities such as the RIAA have railed against illegal music downloads, believing them to be damaging music sales. Likewise, the MPAA has done the same for movie downloads, however a similar report in February suggested that movie rips were not affecting box office revenues. [via TorrentFreak]