|Title:||Artists, musicians and the internet.|
|Citation:||Madden, M. (2004). Artists, musicians and the internet. Pew Internet & American Life Project.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||There are three sets of data:
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This is the first large-scale study that looks at artists’ and musicians’ use of the internet and their views on copyright. The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s interest in studying artists and musicians grew out of our previous work studying internet users’ consumption of music and other creative content online. Through a series of reports on music downloading and file-sharing, we have observed and documented the changing behaviors and attitudes of an American public learning to negotiate the ever-changing copyright landscape of the digital world.
However, over the course of observing the explosive growth and persistence of peer-to- peer networks, and following the entertainment industry’s ongoing efforts to police these activities and promote licensed digital music services, we found that there were few sources of quantitative research directed at understanding how these issues affect both musicians and the greater creative community. We found ourselves hard-pressed to answer some of the most basic questions about artists and the internet. For instance, how many artists have access to the internet? How many promote and sell their work online? How are they using the internet to develop their work, their connections to other artists, or their connections to audiences and the world-at-large? How do they feel about controversies over copyright and fair use of creative material in the heyday of peer-to-peer systems like the original Napster and the current Kazaa and BitTorrent?
The debate about copyright in the digital era has primarily centered on the recording industry’s opposition to unauthorized file-sharing and downloading, a stance that has been both lauded and criticized by popular musicians. This clash over new technology grows out of a long history of disputes between business and artists about the proper balance between creators, the people who pay for and market creations, and consumers who want access to large catalogs of digital music files and argue that there are many non-infringing uses of peer-to-peer. While music has been at the forefront of this discussion, the movie industry has also recently began suing individual downloaders.
In our surveys between 2000 and 2003, we found growing numbers of music downloaders who said they didn’t care about the copyright on the files they were acquiring. Technology firms accommodated this demand by creating and marketing an ever-widening array of devices to copy and store music files. Moreover, the growth of home broadband connections has made it progressively easier to share and download MP3 files. The recording industry’s response to this apparent apathy towards copyright and the ease of getting free files online was to file more than 7,000 lawsuits directed against alleged file-sharers since September 2003. After the first legal actions by the RIAA, the number of people who said in our surveys that they downloaded music files dropped dramatically but has since rebounded to a degree.
Economic analysis of recorded music sales data and its relationship to music file-sharing activity is ongoing. At the same time, there is much to be learned from studying developments on the ground level. In the end, the future of any industry whose content can be digitized hinges on the creativity and innovation of artists. But there are strong concerns within the artistic community, and by prominent legal scholars, about the effectiveness of current copyright terms and their enforcement in the online world. Some argue that our understanding of copyright law has strayed far from its original purpose and that the internet calls for an inherently different interpretation of what constitutes copyright infringement and what qualifies as fair use of digitized works. Furthermore, many have raised concerns about the practical difficulties of the permissions process for creators and that too few new works are passing into the public domain.
Artists are avid consumers as well as creators of online content. They often borrow from previous works and use that for inspiration for their own creativity. They represent the leading edge of media consumption online. Yet artists’ perspectives and first-hand experiences with the internet – both those of musicians and the larger creative community – have rarely been examined at the national level.
There are good reasons for this apparent gap in studying artists as consumers as well as producers. They are a notoriously difficult group to define with objective measures and are often prohibitively expensive to contact in large numbers. Musicians, in particular, are often required to travel extensively, which makes them difficult to reach with traditional telephone survey methods.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has undertaken several research initiatives to begin to probe these issues of how musicians and artists use the internet and how they feel about the copyright issues that have emerged in the digital age. There were three core research instruments for this study. The findings from these three surveys, while covering similar themes, are discussed in separate sections of the report in order to emphasize the important methodological differences between the samples. Additionally, each sample serves a different purpose, so we anticipate that some readers will appreciate having the data presented discretely in the sections that follow.
The national sample of self-identified artists allowed us to ask questions of a broad, random, and representative sample of self-identified artists from around the country, to gather baseline data on internet use by a wide range of artists in the U.S. and probe their opinions on copyright issues online. However, reflecting both the well-known challenges of recruiting artists for research purposes and the conventional wisdom about the small number of career artists in the U.S., this sample was limited in its ability to include a large number of artists who rely almost exclus ively on artistic work for their livelihood.
The sample of online musicians, while not representative, allowed us to reach several thousand respondents, including a substantial portion of career musicians (those we define as “Success Stories” and “Starving Musicians” in the report) who have a considerable stake in discussing both the positive and negative effects of free downloading online. The musician survey, because it was administered online, also gave us a chance to ask a more thorough list of questions about the internet that was uniquely catered to musical performers and songwriters.
Finally, the random and nationally representative sample of American adults provided a glimpse of how the views and experiences of average consumers compare to those of the creative public.
Main Results of the Study
Main results of the study:
- 32 million Americans consider themselves artists and about 10 million of them get some kind of compensation for their creations and performances.
- More than three-quarters of all artists, 77%, and 83% of Paid Artists use the internet, compared to 63% of the entire population. Many site specific gains in their careers from their use of the internet.
- 52% of all online artists and 59% of Paid Online Artists say they get ideas and inspiration for their work from searching online.
- 30% of all online artists and 45% of Paid Online Artists say the internet is important in helping them create and/or distribute their art.
- 23% of all online artists and 41% of Paid Online Artists say the internet has helped them in their creative pursuits and careers.
- 4% of all online artists and 8% of Paid Online Artists say the internet has made it much harder for their work to get noticed.
- 3% of all online artists and 6% of Paid Online Artists say the internet has had a major deleterious effect on their ability to protect their creative works.
- Two-thirds of the musicians in the online survey say the internet is “very important” in helping them create and distribute their music.
- 90% of musicians use the internet to get ideas and inspiration.
- 87% of musicians use it to promote, advertise and post their music online.
- 83% of musicians offer free samples online and notable numbers report benefits from that such as higher CD sales, larger concert attendance, and more radio play.
- 77% have their own Web site.
- 69% sell their music somewhere online.
- 66% use the internet to collaborate with others. Many independent musicians, in particular, see the internet as an alternative way to bypass traditional distribution outlets.
- Artists say the current copyright laws do a good job of protecting the rights of creators and most have no qualms about the length of copyright protection that the law currently allows.
- 64% of all artists and 67% of Paid Artists think that the copyright owner should have complete control over the use of that work.
- Half of all artists say that copyright regulations generally benefit purveyors of art work more than the original creators. Musicians echo those views.
- Just 28% of artists consider file-sharing to be a major threat and 30% of Paid Artists say this. Among the musicians in our online survey, two-thirds say file-sharing poses a minor threat or no threat at all.
- 19% of Digitized Artists say unauthorized copies of their works have been posted online.
- 52% of all artists and 55% of Paid Artists believe it should be illegal for internet users to share unauthorized copies of music and movies over file-sharing networks, compared to 37% of all artists and 35% of Paid Artists who say it should be legal.
- Artists are evenly divided in their assessment about whether file-sharing programs are a net good or a net bad for their colleagues, while the musicians we surveyed are more likely to see the positive aspects of file-sharing.
- 47% of all artists agree with the statement that “file-sharing services are bad for artists because they allow people to copy or use an artist’s work without getting permission or compensating the artist.”
- 43% agree that, “file-sharing services aren’t really bad for artists, since they help to promote and distribute an artist’s work to a broad audience.”
- When asked about burning a copy of a music or movie CD for a friend, artists’ views become sharply divided; 46% think it should be legal, and 48% say it should be illegal. Paid Artists are marginally more likely to consider CD burning to be an infringing behavior.
- 46% of artists believe that it should be legal to send a digital copy of music over the internet to someone they know, but 49% say it should be illegal.
- The musicians we surveyed were similarly divided over burning a CD for a friend; 47% think this should be legal while 41% think it should be illegal. However, most say that sending a digital copy of music over the internet to someone they know should be permitted.
- Of those artists who download music files (n=118), most think that downloading has not really changed the total amount they spend on music purchases like CDs, concerts, or other music products (58% say this).
- 29% of artists say they think downloading has actually increased what they spend on music purchases overall, and 13% say it has decreased their purchases.
- Among artists who either download music or video files (n=139), 86% say that when they download files for free, they usually end up supporting the artist or author in other ways, such as buying a CD or book or going to a performance.
- Just over half of all artists who download music or video files say they can’t always tell if it’s legal or illegal to download media files from the internet.
- More than two-thirds of the sample said they don’t currently pay to download any type of media files, but they would if the price, quality and choice they want become available.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Artists|
|Period of material under study:||2003|
|Level of aggregation:||Musicians and Songwriters|
|Period of material under study:||2004|
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||2003|