File-sharing only makes big acts bigger, study shows

Piracy doesn't seem to give new bands exposure, it is claimed

The era of file-sharing has not increased the exposure of new artists, according to a new study.

According to a study commissioned by royalties body PRS, the most-pirated tracks on the internet tend to be those already at the top of the charts. The organisation claims that this trend only serves to make popular stars even more popular, reports BBC News

The news seemingly strikes a blow to those who believed that file-sharing would democratise music and find a bigger audience for emerging new artists.

Study authors Will Page of PRS and Eric Garland of media tracking firm Big Champagne looked at patterns to find out of the so-called ‘Long Tail‘ theory held water.

As they described it, ‘Long Tail‘ claims that “if you offer people more choice, and help them make that choice, they will take that choice.”

But their results found this not to be the case. They wrote: “Much of the volume (sales or swaps) is concentrated amongst a small proportion of available tracks.”

They believe this has happened because the internet actually offers too much choice, and concluded: “After taking into account some geographic differences, the top of the many music charts, from licensed and unlicensed venues, are markedly similar.”