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Facts & Research


2024 | Piracy Impact

Piracy on the High C's: Music Downloading, Sales Displacement, and Social Welfare in a Sample of College Students | Rob, Waldfogel

Recording industry revenue fell sharply in the years between 2000—2003. This paper examines estimates of sales displacement induced by online music downloading, to look at the effect of downloading on sales and welfare.

Key Findings

  • After growing an average of 10 percent per year from 1993—2000, U.S. music industry revenue shrunk by 16 percent from 2000—2003.
  • Music downloading likely reduced purchases by individuals in the sample study by about 10 percent during 2003.
  • Respondents downloaded music that they valued a third to a half less than their purchased music.

Source: Rafael Rob, Joel Waldfogel, Journal of Law & Economics, University of Chicago