How much is music streaming hurting the music industry?
Some artists say quite a bit — most famously Taylor Swift and Radiohead's Thom Yorke. They've pulled all or parts of their catalogs off the music-streaming service Spotify in protest of the pay arrangements. Others, not so much: Adult contemporary star Ed Sheeran gushed in a Spotify blog post last month after his song "Thinking Out Loud" became the first to get 500 million streams on the service.
New research suggests they might both be wrong. According to economists Luis Aguiar and Joel Waldfogel, "interactive streaming appears to be revenue-neutral for the recorded music industry."
Aguiar and Waldfogel penned a paper entitled "Streaming Reaches Flood Stage: Does Spotify Stimulate or Depress Music Sales." In it, they use data to measure Spotify's impact on music sales (permanent downloads) as well as on unpaid consumption (music piracy). We first read about their paper at FiveThirtyEight.