Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Is Spotify good or bad?

Well that depends on who you ask.

Certainly, if you look at this new working paper from Economists Aguiar and Waldfogel, released today, Spotify both reduces legal and illegal music consumption.

The effect is a 'revenue neutral' outcome for the industry.

Specifically, the authors highlight that 137 streams on Spotify reduces sales by 1 unit.

Find a better rundown here.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy


Aguiar, L. and Waldfogel, J. (2015). Streaming Reaches Flood Stage: Does Spotify Stimulate or Depress Music Sales? (Working paper 21653). Retrieved from The National Bureau of Economic Research website:

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Revisiting the carrot versus the stick, from a global perspective

In this new report from the team at TechDirt, including Mike Masnick (who features frequently on this blog), the recurring question over whether the best way to curb digital piracy is with punitive measures or not takes centre stage.

Uniquely, the authors adopt a case study approach, focusing on France, Sweden, UK, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand - countries which have brought new anti-piracy laws into effect in the recent past.

Overwhelmingly, the conclusion is that anti-piracy laws lead to short-term success at best, and are costly to implement. Or, put another way, the carrot is the way to go in the shape of business innovation, including improved legal alternatives to digital piracy.

The report is short and easy to grasp, presented in a sensible way which is simple to navigate.

It is, however, lacking details of the research which has been reviewed - this is surprising.

Nonetheless, it comes recommended.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Movie Piracy vs. Music Piracy

Much has been said on this blog about the difference between music and movie piracy. Here's another entry, bringing us bang up to date.

Cox and Collins (2014) find that prolific music pirates typically demonstrate a greater propensity to substitute legal content for illegal content, whereas heavy movie downloaders are more willing to pay for legal alternatives.

Why might this be the case? Well for one thing, movie pirates are deterred more by an awareness of the negative effects of piracy on the film industry.

This is interesting, and might stem from the greater transparency with the film industry in terms of box office stats and the increased engagement of movie insiders in the public domain. The music industry is not known for its transparency.

Tweeps @musicpiracyguy


Cox, J. and Collins, A. (2014). Sailing in the same ship? Differences in factors motivating piracy of music and movie content. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 50, 70-76.