According to Torrent Freak and statistics from research firm NPD, online music pirates spend 30% more on music than non-pirates do.
The RIAA-backed study from the NPD concludes that, in theory at least, pirates are more likely to “be engaged in” music and thus buy more of their favorite artists’ stuff.
Opinions differ greatly on the direction of the link between engagement and file-sharing. NPD and the RIAA see it exclusively as a one way street. They believe it’s silly to argue that some people visit more concerts because they discovered artists through sharing, for example. From Torrent Freak:
“Are we saying that P2P file sharing promotes T-shirt sales, or show attendance? Of course not; that would be silly,” NPD’s Russ Crupnick writes.
In a “misleading” twist of its own NPD points out that piracy must be the reason for the decline in revenue because the average P2P user (non music buyers included) now spends $42 per capita on music compared to $90 in 2004. What they fail to notice, however, is that P2P users are mostly sharing video now. So the percentage of music buyers among P2P users is much lower than before, which makes it a flawed comparison.
There’s no doubt that the people doing the sharing are more involved in looking for new music. Perhaps the music industry and the RIAA needs to understand that it is not the 90s anymore and people are getting their music a lot easier than spending $18 on an album like we used to in the old days.