An article about a recently released study into the purchasing habits of music collectors had some interesting results. It concluded those who swap music are also the largest purchasers of music. Googling around showed a number of other studies with similar results and more telling no studies indicating the opposite.
The results don’t surprise me, there are many reasons people would buy music even when it seems they could get it for free. People who like music will want new music before it’s available to share. They are also likely to want music that’s not available to share in their circle of friends. My wife and I used Napster when it was first released and we were on a tight budget so we were watching our spending habits closely. We still spent our full budgeted amount on music but since we had heard the music already we were able to buy music we enjoyed more.
The music industry would like you to believe that every person who copies a song did so rather than purchase the song at full price. This is a ridiculous estimation, even when people buy music they don’t always pay full price and some rarely pay full price. I still have a budget and I still prefer to purchase used CD’s rather than buying new music since I can buy a lot more music that way.
The truth about digital music purchases is that they are less flexible compared to purchasing a CD, since technology and the law have not caught up. Digital music can’t be resold and with DRM it can be lost either when the company that licensed it goes out of business or at the apparent whim of he licensor. Those topics will be another blog post.