At a breakout session I conducted this week I shared the Kutiman Thru-You videos and fielded a question about “how will Kutiman make money if he gives this stuff away.” I speculated that free downloading might increase sales, not diminish them, because it helps increase exposure. Yesterday, in fact, I bought two Lily Allen tracks from Amazon only because someone had made a wonderful communal video out of one of her songs. I would never have known she existed without the remixing of her music with this new video. Today I ran across some documentation of this effect.
A recent report from the Norwegian School of Management suggests that people who pirate digital music are also more likely to buy music. Illegal downloading, it seems, may in fact help boost sales (a try before you buy effect?). And the report notes that this is no subtle effect, illegal downloaders are ten times more likely to buy music from legal download services.
Says BI’s Audun Molde to Norwegian daily Aftenposten: “The most surprising finding of this study is that the percentage of legally downloaded music is so high. The results of the study suggest that legal downloads outnumbers illegal downloads by a wide margin. We also saw that users stating that they were involved in illegal P2P file sharing were in fact the legal download services’ biggest clients.”