Oberholzer-Gee, Felx; Strumpf, Koleman. “The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis.” The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 115, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 1-42. < www.unc.edu/~cigar/papers/FileSharing_March2004.pdf>
This journal article is a statistical, quantitative analysis of the effects of file sharing on record sales in the United States. It provides a necessary statistical context against which new music initiatives can be explained in terms of new revenue and marketing model development as a result of the digital-music renaissance. It provides data up to 2007 that measures record-sales (online and in stores) as well as expert estimates of file-sharing usage. Additionally, its authors conclude that file-sharing is not primarily responsible for a decline in record sales, a conclusion that has been used in several policy cases regarding the legality of file-sharing.
This article serves several key purposes. First, it provides an empirical background to support the necessary claim that the music industry is changing as a result of online sharing and the proliferation of digital media. Second, its analysis undermines certain assumptions many RIAA proponents maintain regarding the effect of file-sharing on record sales; for example, it is argued that the availability of the “single” online contributes more to the change in revenue structure than P2P networks. Third, it reports digital-music statistics that are important in any argument regarding the business of music on the internet.