This is worth a read if you have 15 minutes or so to spare http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6851640/study-digital-music-sales-least-hurt-by-piracy-eight-years-ago
Is there a silver lining to online music piracy? A new research paper (that focuses on some fairly old data) delves into the relationship between file sharing and music sales, coming up with mixed results and little closure for the contentious issue.
In a study called "Purchase, Pirate, Publicize: The Effect of File Sharing on Album Sales," Jonathan Lee of Queen’s University in Ontario monitored both the sales and pirated downloads of 2,251 albums... from 2008.
"Trade groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) spend considerable effort and resources to deter piracy and shut down file sharing networks like the one studied in this paper. If the effect of file sharing on sales is small, this expense may not be worth it. The results of this paper should help to inform such cost–benefit analysis by trade groups, law enforcement agencies, and policymakers."
The report itself can be found here
or via the article.
Always good to see that the recording industries cries of the sky falling in are time and again shown to be based on little evidence and more often a record company executive losing a few pounds from the waistline and staring to panic