Everyone knows that sharing music, movies, and other data is illegal. Nevertheless, it is widely accepted – or at the very least, overlooked – by society. For years, music and film distributors have been stumped in their attempts at finding a functioning solution to this problem. But perhaps they don’t need to try so hard anymore.
It’s true that, on average, file sharers have more songs, movies, and e-books on their PCs than non-file-sharers. Two studies from the U.S. and the Netherlands came to this rather obvious conclusion. What’s surprising, though, is that they also spend more money on music, films, etc. than the rest of the population.
File sharers buy more music
The results are clear. According to the study by Columbia University, file sharers have on avearge 1,979 songs, of which 760 (38%) are purchased. The rest are a mixture of free downloads, or from friends and family. Non-file-sharers have on average 1,266 songs, of which 582 (46%) are purchased. At the end of the day, file sharers purchase about 30% more music legally than non-file-sharers.
The researchers at the Universities of Amsterdam and Tilburg came to a similar conclusion, and even took the study a step further. They wanted to know if file sharers purchase more music, or rather more films, legally than the rest of the population. Their findings show that that users who illegally download films and TV series are more likely to spend money on films and series. To the Dutch researchers, the reason is obvious: film and music lovers use all channels – whether legal or illegal – heavily. For them, the line between legal and illegal sources is less relevant than the ease with which they can obtain the goods.
This reasoning also fits with the fact that file sharers spend more money on fan merchandise at concerts and are more likely to stand in line at the cinema. Completely legally.