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Music Piracy

Despite Drop In Piracy, French Music Industry Still In Decline 272

New submitter Hentes writes "France has one of the strictest anti-piracy laws. After 17 months of operation, Hadopi has released a report, claiming that illegal P2P downloads have been reduced significantly in the country: the studies they cite measured 43% and 66% decrease in copyright infringement. But that huge amount of 'lost revenue' doesn't seem to show up in the French recording industry, as the overall recorded music market has decreased by 3.9% in 2011. Even more interesting is that digital music sales have skyrocketed in France. Could it be that it's not piracy killing the traditional recording industry but digital distribution?"
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Despite Drop In Piracy, French Music Industry Still In Decline

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  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:27PM (#39553643) Journal
    Of course it's the digitable distribution model that is killing traditional music sales. Every week, I get 10 hours of free music in the form of podcasts from my favorite DJs. Why would I go out and pay for music when I can legally get it for free? And the DJs rake in their big bucks not from CD sales, but from their world tours.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:32PM (#39553703)

    The reporting on this issue has been pretty crappy.

    What I want to see:

    1) Rates of sales decline for the previous couple of years
    2) Rates of sales decline for neighboring countries or otherwise similar markets

    Without information like that, we can't even begin to have a meaningful discussion as to whether or not HADOPI is "working" or not. So far its all just been hand-waving over half of an equation.

  • by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:36PM (#39553743)

    I know that France had laws to push French content, so I can see a shift to digital distribution would undermine local content laws and hit French artist that way.

    But I would guess that young people are just not used to paying for music. I mean, more young people, if they were to buy music, would do it online. But a lot of them just won’t.

    Which makes the summary off. Who cares if there is a large percentage increase in digital music - from a low base. That just means people who are buying music are switching for one format to another. Maybe buying a top single track is more cost efficient than buying an album? That goes too for the monthly subscription / rental model. (For a bad analogy, after I got Netflix my movie going dropped, so my total dollars spent on “movies” dropped.)

  • Re:Simple Answer: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:36PM (#39553749)

    Keny Arkana?
    Mc Solaar?
    Ok, maybe not your style, but you have to admit, that the French have some excellent music.

  • by s0nicfreak ( 615390 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:58PM (#39554003) Journal
    Horse shoe manufacturers are still pretty relevant. It's just that we now use horses more as pets and luxury items than as tools. Horse shoe manufacturers evolved to meet current customer desire. The recording industry did not, and that is their problem.
  • Check The Math (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:13PM (#39554167) Homepage

    From Rob Reid's TED Talk ( []):

    "I used it to compare the industry's revenues in 1999 (when Napster debuted) to 2010 (the most recent available data). Sales plunged from $14.6 billion down to $6.8 billion - a drop that I rounded to $8 billion in my talk."

    Let's try a quick run-through on the "switch-to-digital" math:

    iTunes sales in 1999 (the first year cited above): $0.
    iTunes songs sold in 1999: 0.
    iTunes songs sold in 2010: 6b.
    Music Industry Sales in 1999: $14.6b
    Music Industry Sales in 2010: $6.8b
    Track Cost in 2010: $0.99
    Album Cost in 1999: $14.00

    Now suppose that people only bought the good tracks, instead of whole albums -- the new iTunes way of buying music. Suppose also that piracy had zero impact on sales. What would the above sales figures imply about the number of good tracks (tracks that sell) per album?

    Albums Sold in 1999 = $14.6b / $14 = 1.1b
    Tracks Sold in 2010 = $6.8b / $0.99 = 6.8b
    Tracks sold in 2010 per album sold in 1999 = 6.8 / 1.1 = 6/1.

    So, what that says is that if all music sales had become digital single tracks, we would now be selling 6 single tracks for every album we used to sell.

    Bear in mind that this is an upper bound case, assuming all sales have become digital. That is not realistic, but it gives us our first measurement. Let's see if we can refine it a bit with some estimates from iTunes.

    iTunes is the single biggest seller of music and sold 6 billion tracks worldwide in 2010. Suppose iTunes sold 2b of those tracks in the US and all digital vendors other than iTunes sold another 1b combined in the US. In that case:

    Album Spending 2010: $6.8b - $3b = $3.8b
    Album Price in 2010: $16
    Albums sold in 2010: $3.8b / $16 = 237m
    Tracks sold in 2010: 3b
    Albums sold in 1999: 1.1b
    Missing Album Sales: 1.1b - 237m = 0.9b
    Tracks Sold per Lost Album: 3b / 0.9b = 3 / 1.

    These numbers are still estimates, but that calculation shows that one reasonable estimate is that we are now selling three digital tracks for every one album we used to sell, if we assume that Internet piracy had exactly zero effect.

    It is within the reasonable bounds of the data I could find quickly that the entire reduction in US music sales is due to migration to digital single tracks.

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:25PM (#39554321) Homepage


    Big music is in decline because local, unsigned bands are enjoying a surge in popularity. This isn't specifically a French thing, it's happening all over. A lot of young adults and wise teens are fed up with the current state of commercial music and are looking elsewhere for their entertainment. Bands themselves often prefer to DIY, many feel the big label's distribution network no longer justifies the loss of freedom and control over their own work, not when the internet is right there and all their fans are on Facebook, MySpace, Reverbnation, SoundCloud and it's all free.

    Perhaps the French are being hit harder as the result of public backlash against the harsh laws, but I'd bet they're going out more to see live acts, playing music that is actually made for enjoyment rather than profit. Big Music has lost its advantage over the everyman, they have little to offer that can't be bootstrapped with the take from a few gigs at local bars.

    The big gap now is in studio recording. This is where the indies have some catching up to do. I work a lot with local bands and my biggest beef is that their recordings are poorly mixed. A lot of indie studios out there are shitting all over their clients' work. They boast impressive gear which lures people in the door, but lack the experience and critical ear to use that gear to its full potential.

  • by rhysweatherley ( 193588 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:48PM (#39554589)

    But I would guess that young people are just not used to paying for music.

    Heck, OLD people are not used to paying for music. I've had access to thousands of songs for near zero cost my entire life. It's called a radio. And I've probably spent a few hundred dollars total my entire life on products advertised on the radio, of which only a tiny fraction in the millicents range made it to the artists that created all that music. I have a few CD's, but nothing close to the amount I've consumed via radio over the years while paying peanuts. Music has always been cheap, and the record industry has always tried to invent ways to pretend that it isn't. There may be a future in creating custom listening mixes and radio-like streams. But $0.99 per song? Get real. It would be a rip-off at $0.01 per song.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.