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Tue 20 Aug 2002 04:00 AM

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Report absolves music piracy of slump in record sales

The international audio recording industry’s claim that music piracy is to blame for the global collapse in record sales has been undermined by a recent report.

The international audio recording industry’s often-repeated claim that music piracy is to blame for the global collapse in record sales has been undermined by a recent report.A newly-released study by Forrester Research has discovered that the 15 percent fall in music sales in the last two years cannot be attributed to the illegal downloading of free music from the Internet. Josh Bernoff, principal analyst at Forrester, remarks: "There is no denying that times are tough for the music business, but not because of downloading. Based on surveys of 1,000 online consumers, we see no evidence of decreased CD buying among frequent digital music consumers.”The study points to the worldwide economic recession, combined with competition from DVDs and video games, as having a role in the recording industry’s losses. The report estimates that by 2005, record companies will be forced to offer consumers downloadable contracts that permit track and album burning. Bernoff believes that record companies will soon discover other ways to meet digital music lovers’ cravings. “First, consumers will demand their right to find music from any label, not just two or three. Second, they want the right to control their music by burning it onto CDs or copying it onto an MP3 player. Finally, consumers will demand the right to pay by the song or album, not just via the subscription services,” he adds. According to Forrester, these new services could prove lucrative, contributing a $2.1 billion boost to the digital music industry by 2007.

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