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Purchase, Pirate, Publicize: Private-Network Music Sharing and Market Album Sales

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  • Jonathan F. Lee

    () (Queen's University)

Abstract

I quantify the effects of private-network music sharing on aggregate album sales in the BitTorrent era using a panel of US sales and private-network downloads for 2,109 albums during 2008. Exogenous shocks to the network's sharing constraints address the simultaneity problem. In theory, private-network activity could crowd out sales by building aggregate file sharing capacity or increase sales through word of mouth. I find evidence that private-network sharing results in decreased album sales for top-tier artists, though the economic impact is quite modest. However, private-network activity seems to help mid-tier artists. The results are consistent with claims that word of mouth is stronger for lesser-known artists and that digital sales are more vulnerable to increases in file sharing capacity. I discuss policy implications and alternatives to costly legal efforts to shut down private file sharing networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan F. Lee, 2018. "Purchase, Pirate, Publicize: Private-Network Music Sharing and Market Album Sales," Working Papers 1354, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1354
    as

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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1354.pdf
    File Function: First version 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hui Kai-Lung & Png Ivan, 2003. "Piracy and the Legitimate Demand for Recorded Music," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, September.
    2. Mortimer, Julie Holland & Nosko, Chris & Sorensen, Alan, 2012. "Supply responses to digital distribution: Recorded music and live performances," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 3-14.
    3. Ram D. Gopal & G. Lawrence Sanders, 2006. "Do Artists Benefit from Online Music Sharing?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1503-1534, May.
    4. Connolly, Marie & Krueger, Alan B., 2006. "Rockonomics: The Economics of Popular Music," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
    5. Sylvain Dejean, 2009. "What Can We Learn from Empirical Studies About Piracy?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 55(2), pages 326-352, June.
    6. Brett Danaher & Michael D. Smith & Rahul Telang & Siwen Chen, 2014. "The Effect of Graduated Response Anti-Piracy Laws on Music Sales: Evidence from an Event Study in France," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 541-553, September.
    7. Seung‐Hyun Hong, 2013. "Measuring The Effect Of Napster On Recorded Music Sales: Difference‐In‐Differences Estimates Under Compositional Changes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 297-324, March.
    8. Marie Connolly & Alan Krueger, 2005. "Rockonomics: The Economics of Popular Music," Working Papers 878, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intellectual property; copyright; file sharing; piracy; digital music;

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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