The best way to assess a new academic paper on filesharing from the North Carolina State University is to read the whole thing yourself, obviously. Entitled ‘Profit Leak? Pre-Release File Sharing and the Music Industry’, it’s by Robert Hammond. Here’s the nutshell summary of its findings: “The results strongly suggest that an album benefits from increased file sharing: an album that became available in file-sharing networks one month earlier would sell 60 additional units. This increase is sales is small relative to other factors that have been found to affect album sales. I conclude with an investigation of the distributional effects of file sharing on sales and find that file sharing benefits more established and popular artists but not newer and smaller artists.” Watch for this being interpreted by pro-piracy blogs as ‘File sharing sells more music!’ and by pro-industry sites as ‘File-sharing doesn’t sell much more music!’ But as we said, reading the full thing yourself is the best plan.

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