Is file-sharing the sole cause of the music industry's decline?
Here's the abstract from a newer paper by the always enlightening Stan Liebowitz (free PDF):
The file-sharing literature has focused mainly on whether file-sharing has decreased record sales, with less attention paid to the size of any decline. Although there is still some contention, most studies have concluded that file-sharing has decreased record sales. What has not been noted is that most estimates indicate that the file-sharing has caused the entire enormous decline in record sales that has occurred over the last decade. This heretofore hidden result is due to the lack of a consistent metric that would allow easy comparability across studies. The task of this paper is to provide such a metric, translate the results reported in the literature into that metric, and then summarizes the results from this exercise.
The studies that suggest that the whole decline in sales is due to file-sharing are earlier, back in the wild west days of the early 2000s. The more recent studies from 2008 and 2009 still put file-sharing's role as accounting for 65-75% of the declining sales.
Most of what the music industry puts out is junk, but sooner or later the zeitgeist will change and we'll get the next big thing. First it was jazz, then rock, and next who knows. But for that to happen, all of the infrastructure has to still be around. Good music, when people can create it again, won't record and distribute itself.
That's the worst part of this whole mess -- having to stick up for bloodsucking record companies. But what choice is there when the other side is file-sharing dorks who don't care if the basic infrastructure melts away, all so they can save a few bucks on their faggot album by Bruno Mars or Avenged Sevenfold?