Monday, February 27, 2012

Was Napster the day the music died?

Pelos vistos não, talvez muito pelo contrário:

Is the Sky Falling? The quality of new recorded music since Napster, por Joel Waldfoger (VoxEU):

A dozen years ago a program was created called Napster. It made it easy for ordinary people to download music from their friends and people they had never met. Despite the rock ‘n’ roll ideals of free music for everyone, it changed the music industry forever – some would say for the worse.

Since then, intellectual property rights have been substantially weakened. Unfettered stealing has caused revenues to the recorded music industry to tumble by roughly one third. While this reversal has prompted academic chin-scratching over its cause, most observers now agree that consumers’ ability to steal music undermines firms’ ability to sell it. The woes of the recorded music industry, along with fears of the movie, television, and book industries, have led many to advocate stronger legal protections for intellectual property, including private lawsuits, and threats of disconnection from internet service.

While the question of whether stealing undermines selling is of vital interest to the recorded music business, it is arguably not the only important question for evaluating the success of intellectual property rules. The purpose of copyright laws is to provide incentives for the creation of new works. Weakened intellectual property protections present a threat to consumers as well as producers. If producers cannot appropriate sufficient revenue to cover their costs, they may stop bringing new products to market, causing harm to consumers as well as producers. Keeping this in mind focuses attention on a different question. What has happened to the volume – and quality – of new works since Napster? (...)

Documenting the volume of high-quality work is challenging, but in recent work I have developed three approaches to characterising the evolution of music quality over time. (...)

Results are interesting. The airplay data allow me to infer vintage quality back to 1960 and exhibit the following pattern (in Figure 2) - quality rises from 1960 to 1970, then falls and remains flat from 1980 to about 1999, with a small bump up in the mid-1990s. After 2000, vintage quality rises sharply, reaching levels not seen since the 1970s. The sales data, which produce an index going only back to 1970, suggest a similar story - vintage quality declines from 1970 to 1980, is flat to 2000, then rises after 2000 (see Figure 3).

Two points are in order about these results. First, the three approaches, while independent of one another, produce broadly similar patterns from 1960-2000. Second, none of the three approaches shows a decline in quality following 2000; and two of them – based on actual music usage – show substantial increases.
 [Via David Henderson]

1 comment:

João Vasco said...