As France—and soon, no doubt, other countries—attempt to regulate against online piracy, a new study out of the UK finds that pirated songs tend to be those already topping the charts. While this isn’t surprising, the researchers offer an interesting idea: Music companies should start thinking of peer-to-peer file sharing sites like they do radio:
Mr Page and Mr Garland suggest that file-sharing sites are reinforcing divisions in the music world and only making the popular more popular.
Despite this, the report said, the fact that music was free on file-sharing networks meant people did occasionally listen to bands they had never heard of before.
By contrast, on sites where people have to pay to listen they only download the tracks they know they want.
“If the sellers sell it, it might never be bought; but if the swappers offer it, at least one person will likely take it,” said the study.
Given this, said the authors, it might be worth music companies regarding file-sharing sites as comparable to radio and TV as a broadcast network.