Feeds

P2P study: Music crackdown is bad for business

Music biz throwing away cash

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A study of P2P music exchanges to be revealed this week suggests that the ailing music business is shunning a lucrative lifeline by refusing to license the activity for money.

Entitled "The Long Tail of P2P", the study by Will Page of performing rights society PRS For Music and Eric Garland of P2P research outfit Big Champagne will be aired at The Great Escape music convention tomorrow. It's a follow-up to Page's study last year which helped debunk the myth of the "Long Tail". Page examined song purchases at a large online digital retail store, which showed that out of an inventory of 13 million songs, 10 million had never been downloaded, even once. It suggested that the idea proposed by WiReD magazine editor Chris Anderson, who in 2004 urged that the future of business was digital retailers carrying larger inventories of slow-selling items was a Utopian fantasy.

The P2P networks are harder to quantify, but apparently show a similar pattern, where most of the action - and profit - is in the 'head'. Each Top 100 CD on on PirateBay averaged 58,000 downloads a week, for example. Lady GaGa's The Fame was downloaded 388,000 times in a week from PirateBay alone. Like its predecessor, the new study also finds that downloads follow a log-normal, rather a Pareto (or "power curve") distribution as Anderson envisaged. The WiReD man had guessed the shape of the internet - and picked the wrong shape.

P2P file sharing follows a log normal distribution

P2P swaps: where's the action?

The gap between bestsellers and the rest is widening, Page and Garland conclude, a pattern also seen with movie and TV consumption too. The authors cite one knock-on effect for live music promoters, who say bands fourth of fifth on a bill are relatively worse off than they were ten years ago. So much for the internet as the great leveller: You literally got lost in the noise.

But why does popular taste follow this shape?

For Andrew Bud, who worked on last year's study, the answer is simple:

"An obvious answer is that it’s through people chatting to each other and seeing the music talked about in the media. That’s what culture is. So the fact we’re seeing the log normal distribution here may point to the power of culture on people’s choices. Chris Anderson’s hypothesis of a Pareto power law would be much more about random, individual choices – people alone with their computers. So perhaps, this debate of 'thick versus fat' is really about the power of culture in determining demand".

Page says that once the nature of the digital market is understood, we can build businesses that reward composers and songwriters. (Not something a concern for the Pirates).

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Make money not war

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.