Record Industry Loses Billions To Piracy – Yeah Right

So it seems that the record industry in the UK lost £650m in the last two year due to piracy.
No it didn’t.
The “shortfall” identified by TNS would simply not have been spent at all. I don’t doubt that the music was downloaded but that’s not the same as “losing money”. It’s money that would never have been spent.
Don’t forget, album sales went up in 2004 – up 2.6% from 2003. At the same time, legal downloads are going through the roof (and are now included in the main UK chart), and DVD music (and film) sales are soaring.
So how does that square with all these millions of pounds that have been lost? According to the TNS report £376m was lost last year. Obviously a chunk of that was single sales. But if we convert it into album sales at around £14 each, that’s an additional 27m albums. This would have meant a 19.4% increase in album sales rather than 2.6%.
OK, I’ve played a bit fast and loose with numbers there, attributing all that lost cash to album sales. But the same story applies. It’s the same fallacy you get in the software industry about lost sales of Photoshop or Microsoft Office. Let’s face it, most of the people currently using a piece of software that retails at between £300-500, would not be using it they’d had to pay for it.
So can I make a plea to the media not to blindly repeat trade organisations’ press releases and call it news. Particularly when they include phrases like “much of which would have been invested in new British music” when talking about that “lost” cash. Surely they meant to say “much of which would have further lined the pockets of major international artists” since they’re the people who’re getting downloaded the most.