What Would the Music Industry Look Like if Napster Never Existed?

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Via Mashable

According to the labels, record sales would have burgeoned if not for the existence of file-sharing site Napster. The labels’ optimistic forecast comes in the form of a chart included in a trial brief for their case against LimeWire.

The above chart was born out of a case brought by major labels like Sony Corp.’s Arista Records and Warner Music Group Corp.’s Atlantic Records against LimeWire. The trial is scheduled to begin May 2.

In the brief, the labels say:

“The evidence will demonstrate that there has been a $55 billion decline in record industry revenue over the last decade. Plaintiffs and Defendants disagree as to whether mass filesharing through peer-to-peer services has been the primary cause of this decline (Plaintiffs’ position), or just one of several causes (Defendants’ position). But even if LimeWire caused only a fraction of this decline, Plaintiffs’ damages would still be in the billions of dollars. Plaintiffs will offer evidence at trial demonstrating that far greater than a fraction of this harm was caused by LimeWire.”

What do you think of the labels’ position? Are Napster, LimeWire and Co. to blame for the declining music industry? Should the labels have embraced file-sharing earlier and adapted it to their own purposes?

-matthew
12:00 pm

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