A recent overview of the current literature on the effect of filesharing on record sales shows that the most popular artist (top 25%) sell less records. However, the remaining 75% of all artists actually profits from filesharing. How this is possible?
Easy, sharing increases the amount of artists you get familiar with. Especially BitTorrent sites are an excellent platform for promoting new, or less popular artists.
First of all, on BitTorrent sites the users decide what’s popular, not the radiostations, record labels and pluggers. Besides this, it’s far more easy to first download an album, listen to it, and then decide if you want to buy it or not. Sure, most of the people will not buy the album, but since you will probably tell tell your friends about this “great new album”, popularity will grow, and eventually the artist will profit from it.
An excellent example is the band Harvey Danger who offers the opportunity to download their album on their website. As soon as they decided to do this, their popularity grew. By offering their album as a download, they gained a lot of fans, collected donations, and probably sold more albums.
Something to think about…