Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Do pirates spend more on music?


Is what the literature on this topic appears to conclude.

Studies by Zentner (2006), Thun (2009) and Huygen et al (2009), amongst others, paint a clear picture of this. This trend has also been found across different cultures, most recently in Karaganis (2012) who observed this amongst both US and German samples.

They conclude: "if absolute spending is the metric, then P2P users value music more highly than their non-P2P using, digital-collecting peers, not less. They're better digital consumers".

There's loads of research on this, with several news articles including BBC (2009) reporting these findings from different studies.

Given the previous blog post proposed that piracy offsets legal sales, how is it that pirates can also spend more on music legally?

While this remains unclear, it is likely that live music has alot to do with it. A relatively under-researched phenomenon (in the field of digital piracy), we do know, for example that demand for live music is reduced where piracy is prevented (Gayer and Shy, 2006).

Have a look at the links below and make your own mind up.

Tweets between major life events @musicpiracyblog


BBC (2009). File-sharers are big spenders too [online]. Available from: [Accessed November 4, 2009].

Gayer, A. and Shy, O. (2006). Publishers, artists, and copyright enforcement. Information Economics and Policy, 18, 374-384.

Huygen, A., Rutten, P., Huveneers, S., Limonard, S., Poost, J., Leeheer, J., Janseen, K., van Eijk, N. and Helberger, N. (2009). Ups and downs: Economic and cultural effects of file sharing on music, file and games. Commissioned by Ministries of Education, Culture and Science, Economic Affairs and Justice [online]. Available from: [Accessed October 17, 2012].

Karaganis, J. (2012). Where do you music collections come from? [online]. Available from: [Accessed October 17, 2012].

Thun, C. (2009). Introducing Hollywood's Best Customers: Vuze User vs. General Interest: Comparative Data [online]. Available from: [Accessed October 21, 2012].

Zentner, A. (2006). Measuring the effect of file sharing on music purchases. Journal of Law and Economics, 49(1), 63-90.



  1. Hello Steven,

    Sorry if Steven isn't you, wasn't completely sure if the Steven on the Contact page was you or not.

    I agree with the fact that music is where most money is spent when pirating. I also feel that though anti-piracy methods are needed, should be more of a problem to solve by the company themselves rather than something to be brought up to the governmental level.

    Would you mind reading my blog at ? I would like to have your perspective. Thanks!

    Andrew Berg
    The Green Room at Iowa State University

  2. Hi there, thanks for checking out the site.

    Had a look at your blog. You write well and impartially, which is great.

    Some suggested improvements would include citing as many studies as possible, where there are dozens of links to academic resources on my blog. Websites are good, but it's good to draw from wider resources which have been reviewed. Particularly so when dealing with 'the numbers'. To this end, check out where it would be great if you expanded on your impartial writing style to also address gaps and limitations in what we know (as a result of how we know it).

    I'm researching music piracy, with no particular pro or anti-piracy stance as such. I'm a music psychologist and find there's alot of interesting questions raised from exploring piracy. In principle, I am not in favour of invasive internet monitoring methods of curbing piracy. I see new success stories everyday which are more positive and stem simply from offering good alternatives to piracy. I think that's where we are going.

    Best of luck with your blog.