Downloading Numbers Don't Add Up

Published: 2004-12-01
A recent study by Michael Geist of the Toronto Star has revealed that the Canadian music industry is not as adversely affected by downloading as they had claimed. In his study, which included information from Statistics Canada and an examination of the CRIA's own numbers, Geist has shown that losses incurred by Canadian artists, purportedly the result of the downloading boom, have been greatly exaggerated.

Geist reports that in 2003 the CRIA reported losses of $250 million over the previous three years. Three months later, they claimed the actual losses were $425 million. The numbers were once again inflated a few weeks ago when CRIA general counsel Richard Pfohl stated that losses were actually $450 million per year since 1999, this time putting estimated losses at approximately $2 billion over five years, according to Geist.

Geist goes on to say that the CRIA publishes its own numbers in regards to CD sales, thus making the seemingly arbitrary increase in the announcement of losses unnecessary. For example, according to the CRIA CD sales in Canada in 1999 totaled almost $700 million. By 2003 those sales had declined to a paltry $559.7 million for a decrease of $294 million, as reported by Geist. Total CD sales for the period 1999-2003 accumulated to $3.2 billion. The sales decrease of $294 million is somewhat close to the initial estimate of $250 million, but no where near the astronomical figure of $2 billion or even the lesser estimates of $425 or $450 million. It remains to be seen what, if any, impact Geist's study will have on the future of music downloading, as court proceedings against file sharing giant Kazaa continue in Australia.

Writer: Joe Henley



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