Music Streaming vs. Music Piracy

preview

This summer we were tasked with an inquiry assignment that we worked on throughout the semester. The objective of this assignment was to pick a topic that related to new media and make the argument how new media has impacted that subject. In the beginning, I bounced around trying to discover a topic that interested me only to find out the topic had been right in front of my face the entire time. I enjoy listening to music while I do pretty much everything, just as most of us do. Recently, I decided to try out Spotify and see what all it had to offer since I had heard of so many other people using it. After I used it I realized how resourceful it was as a music library, all for free, unless I decide to sign up for the premium service. This got me curious and I decided to research if anyone else viewed music streaming services such as Spotify to be effective in reducing music piracy just as I do. After completing my research this semester I came to the conclusion that music streaming is having an impact on music piracy to an extent, however, more research is needed to really determine the direct link between music streaming and the drop in music piracy of late. The details and findings of my research can be read online if you click here or the link below.

https://medium.com/@maxstrahan/music-streaming-vs-music-piracy-b1a939ec1602

Synthesis Matrix

Step #ONE:

How has music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer helped reduce music piracy?

Step #TWO:

While music piracy is still an issue, music streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, and more, have played a role in effectively reducing music piracy.

Step #THREE:

Names of Authors They provide a “freemium” service to meet the desire of consumers unwilling to pay for their favorite music. Their premium service offers higher quality audio than to the majority of digital music available for download whether it’s purchased or downloaded illegally. They provide a legal means of enjoying your favorite music without having to fear legal ramifications faced when downloading pirated music. Their added features provide added interaction with your favorite music. Such added features include: personal music recommendations; social interaction such as sharing your favorite songs, artists, and playlists with friends or vice versa; the ability to follow your favorite artists and see what music they’re listening to; the ability to access all of their music on multiple devices including your computer, mobile phone, and tablet.
#1 Halmenschlager They argue that intestifying copyright laws leads to increased piracy, so “freemium” services have provided an alternative option. Premium accounts have access to higher quality audio files (320Kbps) compared to the majority of digital music downloads (128Kbps) including both legal and illegal downloads.    
#2 Luckerson In 2013, 113.8 billion songs were played through various streaming services, the majority being on freemium accounts.     Services like Spotify have recently allowed subscribers with a free account to access the music database on their mobile phones and tablets.
#3 Delikan 65% of his respondents used the free service provided by Spotify. The other 35% used the premium service.   The results of his testing showed high numbers in factors like the ability to share music with friends and the ease of finding new music.
#4 Van Ooijen   Ooijen even notes that during the high of Napters power, sound quality was a driving factor in their service being so popular until authorities shut it down for sharing music illegally. Napster has since rebranded as a streaming service that still provides high quality sound files.   He then points out the ease of streaming services. Rather than search all over the web for quality illegal downloads, all you have to do is log into your favorite streaming service and your favorite artist’s discography is only a few clicks away.
#5 Cammaerts Thier study resulted in a high number of survey participants diagreeing with the prices of MP3s. Only 18.2% perceived MP3 prices as “fair”, thus free alternatives are generally preferred. 76.2% of those surveyed reported were satisfied with the service suggesting the overall quality of the service was the determining factor in their decision. 38% of their participants cited legal prosecution as their desire to find a viable alternative to music piracy.  
#6 Dorr Dorr’s study proved that most music pirates perferred the free music streaming service. His study also reported that music pirates agreed with the price points of music services more than those of pay-per-download music stores like iTunes.   Dorr mentions how his studies proved that the users surveyed noted added social features as a benefit that had a positive effect on their experience using streaming services. His study also noted that the ease of use and searching for new music was a positive factor on his findings as well.
#7 Pfanner At the time of this article (2009) Spotify had 2 million total subscribers. – 65% of teens surveyed in Briton used streaming services in the past month and 31% said they used it every day. At the time of this article (2009) Spotify had 2 million total subscribers.    
#8 “Spotify Was Designed…” At the time of this article Spotify hadn’t even been launched in the U.S. yet and it already had 18 million “freemium” accounts. They also had 6 million premium accounts bringing their total to 24 million subscribers before their launch in the U.S. Even in Sweden, the piracy capital of the world, they’re reporting Spotify as a viable alternative to facing legal prosecution.  

Step #FOUR:

  1. Halmenschlager, Christine, and Patrick Waelbroeck. Fighting Free with Free: Streaming vs. Piracy. N.p.: n.p., Feb. 2012. PDF.
  2. Luckerson, Victor. “Spotify and YouTube Are Just Killing Digital Music Sales | TIME.com.” Business Money Spotify and YouTube Are Just Killing Digital Music Sales Comments. TIME, 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 02 July 2014.
  3. Delikan, Mehmet D. Changing Consumption Behavior of Net Generation and the Adoption of Streaming Music Services. N.p.: Jönköping University, June 2010. PDF.
  4. Van Ooijen, Robbert. Home Streaming Is Killing Piracy. N.p.: Universiteit Utrecht, 18 Oct. 2010. PDF.
  5. Cammaerts, Bart, and Nick Anstead, comps. “Why Pay If It’s Free?”MEDIA@LSE Electronic MSc Dissertation Series (2011): 0-39. London School of Economics and Political Science. Aug. 2011. Web. 11 July 2014.
  6. Dorr, Jonathan. “Music as a Service as an Alternative to Music Piracy? An Empirical Investigation of the Intention to Use Music Streaming Services.”BUSINESS & INFORMATION SYSTEMS ENGINEERING 6 (2013): 383-96. Print.
  7. Pfanner, Eric. “Music Industry Luring ‘Casual’ Pirates to Legal Sites.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 July 2009. Web. 14 July 2014.
  8. “SPOTIFY WAS DESIGNED FROM THE GROUND UP TO COMBAT PIRACY.” TorrentFreak. N.p., 04 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 July 2014.

Step #FIVE:

After completing my synthesis matrix I had 12 empty slots out of 24, so it’s safe to say that I need to dig for more information. I realize the problem with my sources is that they list a lot of stats that just prove the drops in piracy but they only a handful of them state reasons that support my sub-claims. I’ve got to figure out a way to incorporate all those stats and information into my report because they’re important to my argument as well. I might have to alter one of my because statements or add a new one to be able to use that information. So, I’ll have to spend the weekend doing some more research, that’s for sure.

BECAUSE CLAUSES AND SIGNAL PHRASE ACTIVITY

Step #ONE:

Music streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora are effective in reducing music piracy because:

  1. They provide a “freemium” service to meet the desire of consumers unwilling to pay for their favorite music.
  2. Their premium service offers higher quality audio than to the majority of digital music available for download whether it’s purchased or downloaded illegally.
  3. They provide a legal means of enjoying your favorite music without having to fear legal ramifications faced when downloading pirated music.
  4. Their added features provide added interaction with your favorite music. Such added features include: personal music recommendations; social interaction such as sharing your favorite songs, artists, and playlists with friends or vice versa; the ability to follow your favorite artists and see what music they’re listening to; the ability to access all of their music on multiple devices including your computer, mobile phone, and tablet.

Step #TWO:

The authors of the article “Fighting Free with Free: Streaming vs. Piracy” state “The quality of the digital copies is lower that the quality of the premium version and is modeled by an exogenous parameter that is related to the sound quality (320 Kbps or higher for the premium service vs. 128 Kbps for many pirated copies) or to the fact that connecting the free or the premium service brings addition value such as playlist sharing, personal recommendations, complete artist and album information and photos, discussion forums etc” (Halmenschlager and Waelbroeck 2012).

In an article posted on TorrentFreak.com in December of 2013 the author noted, “In Sweden, a market that should be the most difficult to turn around if file-sharing traditions are any barometer, Spotify says that the number of people who pirated music fell by 25 percent between 2009 and 2011. In Denmark the IFPI reports that 48% of users using streaming services had previously been illegal downloaders. An impressive 8 out of 10 of those have now stopped completely. Norway, a success story documented earlier this year, has seen its piracy rates drop to just one-fifth of their levels four years earlier, with streaming services taking most of the credit” (“Spotify Was Designed from the Ground Up to Combat Piracy” 2013).

Viktor Luckerson submitted an article on TIME.com earlier this year and described the current trend in music, “U.S. digital track sales decreased for the first time ever in 2013, dropping from 1.34 billion to 1.26 billion, according to Nielsen SoundScan. CD sales also continued their ongoing decline, dropping 14 percent to 165 million. Digital album sales were stable, staying at 118 million sold last year. Meanwhile the number of songs streamed through services like Spotify, YouTube and Rhapsody increased 32 percent to 118.1 billion” (Luckerson 2014).

 

Research Nuggets #4

Source #11

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

Halmenschlager, Christine, and Patrick Waelbroeck. Fighting Free with Free: Streaming vs. Piracy. N.p.: n.p., Feb. 2012. PDF.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

Streaming services without endless restrictions have the ability to deter digital piracy. A free service satisfies the desire of consumers who are unwilling to pay for digital content, while paid versions offer the digital quality that other consumers who are willing to pay for their service desire.

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“In this article, consumers can choose between three options: use the free version, purchase the premium version or get a digital copy. The first two options are legal and generate income for the monopoly, while the latter is illegal. All three versions differ in quality. The difference of quality between the free and the premium version is endogenous and is determined by the level of restrictions associated with the free version. More restrictions increase the number of premium users but diverts other users to piracy. On the contrary, fewer restrictions deter online piracy. The quality of the digital copies is lower that the quality of the premium version and is modeled by an exogenous parameter that is related to the sound quality (320 Kbps or higher for the premium service vs. 128 Kbps for many pirated copies) or to the fact that connecting the free or the premium service brings addition value such as playlist sharing, personal recommendations, complete artist and album information and photos, discussion forums etc” (Halmenschlager 2012).

Music streaming services typically offer two subscriptions: free and paid. The free service has ads and lower quality audio, while allowing consumers to enjoy their favorite music without having to pay for it. The paid service offers higher quality audio compared to even most digital copies of music illegally available to download. Both the free and paid services coupled with features such a playlist sharing and personal recommendations show promise in deterring digital piracy.

“As of April 2011, the new terms of use allow a user to listen to the free service for 6 months and to play each song for up to a total of 5 times. Moreover total listening time for free users is limited to 5 hours per month after the first 6 months (down from 10 hours). Similar restrictions have been adopted by Deezer at about the same time. With this type of restrictions, a free user is rapidly experiencing playlists with “Swiss cheese” holes (titles that were listened to more than 5 times). This inconvenience can trigger two reactions: free users convert to the premium service; or free users leave the online service and turn to online piracy” (Halmenschlager 2012).

Originally, the major labels of the music industry wanted to limit the amount of times a person could listen to a single song although that proved to be a factor in music pirates downloading illegally again.

Source #12

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

Delikan, Mehmet D. Changing Consumption Behavior of Net Generation and the Adoption of Streaming Music Services. N.p.: Jönköping University, June 2010. PDF.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

The way we enjoy our favorite music is continuously evolving; from vinyl, to cassette, to CD, to MP3, to streaming services. Music streaming is likely to be replaced in the future, but for now it’s the best option we have. Like all new things, consumers were a bit weary of it at first. But time has proven that it’s a revolution that’s here to stay. While most will highlight the convenience of accessibility and neat features like personal recommendations, a lot argue that it’s playing a huge role in the decrease in music piracy. The highlights mentioned previously do seem attractive enough to lure pirates away from their old habits.

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“The analysis shows that the most significant change in the music users’ consumption behavior concerns the statement ‘I started to discover new music more.’ 82.1 percent of the respondents agreed that they started to find out new music more, after they started to use Spotify. The respondents also agreed on ‘I use / download / listen to illegal music much less’ statement by 73.56 percent, and on ‘I have faster access to the newly released music’ by 72.8 percent” (Delikan 2010).

While only one of the three statements that respondents agreed upon directly states that streaming services reduced their illegal activity, the other two statements that were heavily agreed upon could make an the same argument. If the respondents are discovering more new music, faster than previously before while downloading illegally, why would they have any reason to ditch the streaming service for piracy?

“40.24 percent of the respondents were often buying or downloading illegal music before they started using Spotify…However, the analysis shows that the frequency of buying or downloading illegal music is decreased after they started using Spotify. 37.8 percent of the respondents reported that they never pirated after [they] started to use Spotify” (Delikan 2010).

This nugget is a ‘catch 22’ in the sense that the question tied buying music and downloading illegal music together in the same questions making the results a bit murky. A notable number of people reported they were either buying or downloading illegal music before the use of Spotify; however, that trend decreased after using the service. Almost 40 percent of the respondents admitted they ceased downloading illegal music completely after switching to Spotify. While those stats potentially point to streaming services hindering music sales, they also prove the effect streaming has on decreasing piracy.

“…findings showed that the compliance differs according to the account type. Possible interpretation of this finding can be that free account users use the service in order to avoid the legal punishment against music piracy, whereas the premium users who pay for the service use it not to avoid punishment but to get extra benefits” (Delikan 2010).

Users with a free account are definitely satisfied by the idea of not having to pay to enjoy their favorite music, after all that’s why a lot of people pirated music. The results might also suggest that free users can breathe a sigh of relief since they don’t have to fear legal ramifications. While premium users might be those who were likely to buy their music before the use of Spotify, the added features make streaming more appealing. The same can be said about free account users; they might find the extra features worth spending money on rather than the music itself.

Source #13

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

Van Ooijen, Robbert. Home Streaming Is Killing Piracy. N.p.: Universiteit Utrecht, 18 Oct. 2010. PDF.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

The “practices that are designated as piracy” have not always been deemed as such. The advent of the music industry is what brought about music piracy after they declared it an issue. While music piracy is a problem without a doubt, it’s the influence to abolish the issue by those who have financial interests that have made it the center of attention in the music industry. Music streaming services provide an alternative for consumers to use rather than download illegal music, thus alleviating piracy.

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“What has become clear from this is that the structural problem of music piracy is mainly a rhetorical problem. Indeed, piracy can only be regarded as a problem, with the presence of an influential player in the discourse that condemns and designates the illicit copying of intellectual property, in this case the illicit copying of musical ideas. If such a player is not present in the discourse, then the structural problem of piracy does not exist, even when the practices that can be designated as piracy are present” (Van Ooijen 2010).

 

This nugget sums up part of the main claim.

“Streaming music already changes the rhetoric that is expressed by the the music industry itself. It is presented as an alternative to music piracy. Hereby it seems as if the industry is competing directly with piracy by satisfying and incorporating desires that were introduced by file sharing services. These desires are not only the usually mentioned free access to music. Other desires such as having access to a large library of music and having the opportunity to connect and share music with fellow music consumers are incorporated as well” (Van Ooijen 2010).

Rather than restrict consumers and make it more difficult to access their favorite music, which caused the increase in music piracy in the first place, make it easier and more enjoyable. No need to stick it to the man when the man is offering you exactly what you’d like with no strings attached minus some ads. If you don’t like the ads, pony up for a reasonable monthly fee and not only do the ads go away, your music quality increases.

Synthesis

Again, all three of my articles talk about the effect music streaming has as far as reducing music piracy. A reoccurring argument made in a lot of my sources thus far are pointing the finger at the music industry itself being responsible for the dramatic increase of music piracy since 2000. The major record labels and other related governing bodies like the BMI, have gone well out of their way over the past ten plus years to increase restrictions targeted as reducing loss in profits. In turn, there was little to no guilt when downloading music illegally. Rather than restricting access to music, make it easier by providing a free service with massive databases of music and neat features like sharing your playlists and personal recommendations. Give the consumers what they want and they’ll be more inclined to purchase a membership for added features and music quality that’s not typically available via digital downloads whether purchased or illegally downloaded.

Nugget #6: Personal Dynamic Media

One young girl, who had never programmed before, decided that a pointing device ought to let her draw on the screen. She then built a sketching tool without ever seeing ours. She constantly embellished it with new features including a menu for brushes selected by pointing. She later wrote a program for building tangram designs.

This girl has taught her own Smalltalk class; her students were seventh-graders from her junior high school. One of them designed an even more elaborate system in which pictures are constructed out of geometric shapes created by pointing to a menu of commands for creating regular polygons. The polygons can then be relocated, scaled, and copied; their color and line width can change.

This nugget stood out to me most because programs like Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop we’re imagined by a young girl, who then taught a class in which they improved upon it and added more tools and features to draw on the computer with. While MS Paint and Adobe Photoshop are far more advanced today than the original drawing program, it’s neat learning its origins. I also found it interesting that Xerox reached out to people for their support and feedback on each specific feature they we’re trying to add to the Dynabook. The idea of the article is for Xerox to explain their vision of what the Dynabook is and its potential. So, this nugget is just one of many in the article that shows Xerox’s passion and drive when it comes to building a tool thats resourceful to everyone.

Reflective Writing for Concept Experience #5

Part One

For our fifth concept experience I aimed to make the article interactive and resourceful. I looked up the original article itself as well for reference. I wanted to link previous articles mentioned in this article so readers had the ability to read those articles for themselves. Since the article was about Facebook and their recent psychology experiment, I linked their website, it’s sign up page and the data usage information for those who might be curious about those as well. I also decided to link Adam Kramer’s Facebook page for those who might be curious to learn more about him since he was mentioned in the third section of the article. The original article had lines separating each section of the article so I decided to at horizontal lines to add some more creativity to the article thanks to the blog theme. The GIFs that I added are what I found and felt represented each section best. The first GIF was mainly just a funny one I found about Facebook, but the second represented the ridiculous things we’re secretly forced to agree with when signing up for such services. The final picture actually isn’t a GIF but a picture of Adam Kramer since he’s mentioned in that section. Then to finish it off, I added a video at the end. The video basically reminds us that we shouldn’t be surprised that this has happened, nor is it anything new.

Part Two

This concept experience assignment made me realize how much more fun this writing class is compared to the previous one’s I’ve taken. Our reports can be much more interactive with the use of images, videos and links to support our arguments. Images and videos can be used to reinforce the meaning of the message we’re attempting to send to our readers. Links are extremely useful for referencing the information we’ve used to its original source. I would imagine that my final product of the inquiry project will look like an academic blog post or news article.

http://www.vice.com/read/isis-stole-some-shiny-new-weapons-from-the-iraqi-army-989

If I could base my report of any article or source, I’d pick VICE. The link above is to a recent article I read on VICE that uses images, videos and links to support the main claim of the article. It’s a simple and common format you see used on many news sources, but I use VICE all the time for current events and other oddball articles. The only other useful way to jazz up my report other than the use of images, links, and videos, is splitting the report up into pages. Otherwise, I’m still trying to figure that one out.

 

Research Nuggets #3

Source #7

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

“SPOTIFY WAS DESIGNED FROM THE GROUND UP TO COMBAT PIRACY.” TorrentFreak. N.p., 04 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 July 2014.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

Music streaming services have contributed to a decline in music piracy. More specifically, Spotify was designed with the intention of alleviating music piracy.

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“The notion, that “it’s impossible to compete with free”, sat well with lawmakers and governments, who looked at offerings coming out of The Pirate Bay and thousands of other similar sites and widely agreed that no-one will pay for something if they can get it for nothing” (SPOTIFY WAS DESIGNED 2013).

This nugget points out the obvious reason for an increase in piracy which happens to be a factor in the success of streaming services in combating piracy. Why pay for something when you can have it for free? The only thing better than receiving something for free is getting paid to receive something.

“Right from the beginning Spotify founder Daniel Ek held a solid belief that if his service offered a better experience and superior convenience than that being offered by The Pirate Bay, people would jump on board.

And they have. Earlier this year the service confirmed it had amassed a total of 24 million users worldwide, 18 million on their ad-supported service and 6 million paying a subscription” (SPOTIFY WAS DESIGNED 2013).

Another valid point, why download illegally and risk legal ramifications if there was a service that provides the same content with the same features and quality for free? Or even pay a little bit each much for more features and better quality? The amount of users that have subscribed to Spotify prove that people find it a useful and quality service, but does that mean it truly reduces the amount of people that pirate music?

“In Sweden, a market that should be the most difficult to turn around if file-sharing traditions are any barometer, Spotify says that the number of people who pirated music fell by 25 percent between 2009 and 2011.

In Denmark the IFPI reports that 48% of users using streaming services had previously been illegal downloaders. An impressive 8 out of 10 of those have now stopped completely. Norway, a success story documented earlier this year, has seen its piracy rates drop to just one-fifth of their levels four years earlier, with streaming services taking most of the credit” (SPOTIFY WAS DESIGNED 2013).

In Sweden and Denmark the reports point towards yes. In Sweden, from 2009 to 2011 a quarter of those who chose to download music illegally had stopped thanks to services like Spotify. The trend continued in Denmark as well, where almost half of the users who used streaming services had previously been music pirates. With 8 out of 10 of those consumers having stopped downloading illegally completely.

Source #8

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

“PIRACY COLLAPSES AS LEGAL ALTERNATIVES DO THEIR JOB.”TorrentFreak. N.p., 16 July 2013. Web. 11 July 2014.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

Legal alternatives for accessing music, movies and TV have had an impact on reducing digital piracy. There’s no excuse for downloading illegally when you have legitimate options for enjoying the same content.

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“The report shows that in 2008 almost 1.2 billion songs were copied without permission. However, by 2012 that figure had plummeted to 210 million, just 17.5% of its level four years earlier.

As expected, piracy of movies and TV shows in 2008 was at much lower levels than music, with 125 million movies and 135 million TV shows copied without permission. But by last year the figures for both had reduced by around half, to 65 million and 55 million respectively” (PIRACY COLLAPSES 2013).

This nugget of the article states details from a report about the decline of piracy in Norway. From 2008 to 2012, the amount of songs copied without permission declined by 82.5%. Music hasn’t been the only beneficiary of streaming services, the movie and TV industry has benefited from services such as Netflix. 

“Of those questioned for the survey, 47% (representing around 1.7 million people) said they use a streaming music service such as Spotify. Even more impressively, just over half (corresponding to 920,000 people and 25% of Norwegian Internet users) said that they pay for the premium option.

While TV show piracy has reduced by half in four years, it actually peaked at the start of 2011 with 200 million shows copied without permission. However, since then with the introduction of legal alternatives, unauthorized copying is down more than 72%” (PIRACY COLLAPSES 2013).

A survey reported that 47% of 1.7 million people surveyed use streaming services and a number of them pay for these services too. The number of illegal copies of TV shows was down 72% over a 4 year period.

Source #9

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

Edgecliffe-Johnson, Andrew. “Streaming Revenues Turn the Tide against Digital Pirates – FT.com.” Financial Times. N.p., 04 Sept. 2013. Web. 11 July 2014.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

Although piracy continues to be a nuisance, streaming services are helping reduce piracy numbers. 

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“In an analysis of the Dutch market, Will Page, an economist working for Spotify, found that releases by Rihanna and Taylor Swift that were held off Spotify sold just one legal copy for each BitTorrent download, while hits from One Direction and Robbie Williams that were instantly available for streaming sold four copies” (Edgecliffe-Johnson 2013).

Releases that weren’t available on Spotify boasted a legal purchase to illegal download ratio of 1:1 whereas releases available on Spotify posted a ratio of 4:1.

“High rates of piracy for hits such as Game of Thrones  in markets such as Australia show that consumers still look to illegal sources if content is not available legally in all parts of the world the minute that US consumers get it” (Edgecliffe-Johnson 2013).

This nugget directly proves the effect Netflix has on video piracy. Game of Thrones still remains a highly pirated TV show because it’s streaming availability is limited to those who pay for an HBO subscription. It’s not available on Netflix or any other video streaming service with the exception of HBO GO.

Source #10

Step 1 – MLA Citation:

Cammaerts, Bart, and Nick Anstead, comps. “Why Pay If It’s Free?”MEDIA@LSE Electronic MSc Dissertation Series (2011): 0-39. London School of Economics and Political Science. Aug. 2011. Web. 11 July 2014.

Step 2 – Main Claim:

The Internet and new digital media outlets have changed the landscape of music revenues. Not only has digital music created a huge decline in the sales of physical albums it also created a dramatic increase in theft of music. The Internet and peer-to-peer networking has created the ability to share music with others thus not having to pay for it.

Step 3 – Nuggets:

“The majority of streaming users (76.5%) were satisfied with the service, in comparison to just 11.3% of users who were dissatisfied. This suggests an overall high quality and helps to explain the rapid adoption of such services” (Cammaerts and Anstead 2011).

The high level of satisfaction among those who use streaming services makes the quick increase in subscription numbers reasonable. While it doesn’t prove continuous use over a long period of time, it suggests a willingness to find alternatives to downloading illegally.

“The price of an MP3 was viewed as unfair by 25.3% of respondents and 23.6% of the cohort had never purchased music in a digital format. In comparison, 18.2% of consumers who perceived the price to be fair had never purchased digital music. It is likely that free legitimate sources or illegal downloads provide an alternative channel to satisfy demand for consumers who have relatively low willingness to pay for digital music” (Cammaerts and Anstead 2011).

Those found to be in disagreement with the prices of MP3’s are more likely to download music illegally or use free streaming services rather than pay for the music.

Concept Experience #5

Facebook tinkered with users’ feeds for a massive psychology experiment

By William Hughes
Jun 27, 2014 – 3:30 PM

Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.


In order to sign up for Facebook, users must click a box saying they agree to the Facebook Data Use Policy, giving the company the right to access and use the information posted on the site. The policy lists a variety of potential uses for your data, most of them related to advertising, but there’s also a bit about “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” In the study, the authors point out that they stayed within the data policy’s liberal constraints by using machine analysis to pick out positive and negative posts, meaning no user data containing personal information was actually viewed by human researchers. And there was no need to ask study “participants” for consent, as they’d already given it by agreeing to Facebook’s terms of service in the first place.


Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer is listed as the study’s lead author. In an interview the company released a few years ago, Kramer is quoted as saying he joined Facebook because “Facebook data constitutes the largest field study in the history of the world.” It’s a charming reminder that Facebook isn’t just the place you go to see pictures of your friends’ kids or your racist uncle’s latest rant against the government—it’s also an exciting research lab, with all of us as potential test subjects.

Should we really be surprised?

Original Article