Streaming has become so popular in recent years that it’s put a serious dent in online music piracy. For many, it seems, downloading music just isn’t worth the hassle when you can stream anything, anywhere right from your phone. But a new study finds that, despite this, shutting down file sharing websites may actually harm music artists and the industry as a whole.
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The study was an update on an initial work-in-progress published by the Information Economics and Policy Journal from Queens University. The study looked at 250,000 albums across 5 million downloads to see what effect that piracy had on the market for that type of music.
The study found that file-sharing sites actually may help smaller-ticket acts.
The findings lead to the conclusion that there is no ideal ‘one-size-fits-all’ response to piracy. In fact, some unauthorized sharing may be a good thing.
This is in line with observations from musicians themselves over the past years. Several top artists have admitted the positive effects of piracy, including Ed Sheeran, who recently said that he owes his career to it.
Though piracy still exists online, it has been massively downsized thanks to the convenience of Spotify and the like.
Most people don’t need to “own” a digital file, they just need access to it.