×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Piracy perspective

Study downplays file-sharing in music woes

The music biz can’t pin all of its recent sales woes on file-swapping pirates, according to a study of Net-savvy consumers’ buying habits over the past year. Results were unveiled Wednesday by the music arm of research firm the NPD Group.

Sales of full-length CDs in the U.S. slumped by 13% in the fourth quarter of 2002 compared with a year earlier, NPD Music calculated. And sales for the first quarter of 2003 were 9% lower than those in the prior period.

Above board

But while the firm attributes more than half of the slump to free file-sharing activity on services like Kazaa and Morpheus, it said a significant portion of the decline comes from outside the realm of pirating peer-to-peer users.

NPD said 60% of music buyers with access to the Web have never downloaded free music from file-swapping sites. Among those law-abiding Net surfers, sales fell by as much as 7% in the first quarter.

“Our research shows that even if digital file-sharing were to disappear tomorrow, the record labels and retailers would still need to overcome important underlying causes of recent market declines,” said Russ Crupnick, vice president at NPD.

Ironically, NPD said some of the most acute declines are coming from older music buyers — a group not generally associated with illegal file-sharing or digital piracy of any kind.

In with the old

The firm said the older consumers that were interviewed complained of a dearth of interesting new material, adding that many of these would-be record buyers look instead to the catalog bins for artists like the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.

The music industry has begun to wake up to the potential of the 36-and-older set over the past year after the blockbuster success of Norah Jones. The jazzy songstress sold more than 6 million copies of her debut disc in the U.S., driven in large part by older fans.

NPD recommended several tactics for tapping into the malnourished older market and reversing the downward sales trends, including a greater focus on “legacy” artists to repeat the success of recent compilations of the Beatles and Elvis Presley, create special sections at retail catering to older buyers and retool marketing strategies to break the industry’s focus on youths.

More Digital

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content