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Purchase, Pirate, Publicize: Private-network Music Sharing And Market Album Sales

Jonathan Lee ()

No 1354, Working Paper from Economics Department, Queen's University

Abstract: I quantify the effects of private-network music sharing on aggregate album sales in the BitTorrent era using a panel of US sales and private-network downloads for 2,109 albums during 2008. Exogenous shocks to the network's sharing constraints address the simultaneity problem. In theory, private-network activity could crowd out sales by building aggregate file sharing capacity or increase sales through word of mouth. I find evidence that private-network sharing results in decreased album sales for top-tier artists, though the economic impact is quite modest. However, private-network activity seems to help mid-tier artists. The results are consistent with claims that word of mouth is stronger for lesser-known artists and that digital sales are more vulnerable to increases in file sharing capacity. I discuss policy implications and alternatives to costly legal efforts to shut down private file sharing networks.

Keywords: intellectual property; copyright; file sharing; piracy; digital music (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L82 L86 O34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 59 pages
Date: 2018-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-ict, nep-ipr, nep-pr~ and nep-net
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) First version 2018 (application/pdf)

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Journal Article: Purchase, pirate, publicize: Private-network music sharing and market album sales (2018) Downloads
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