Friday, February 16, 2007

News of interest

One of my pet beats as a bona fide Web journalist with an e-zine that shall rest in peace was following the trends and consequences of file-sharing. I continue to stay on top of that.

"The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis" is a new article in the Journal of Political Economy. I haven't read it, but Ars Technica reports that this study concludes that illegal file-sharing cost the American music industry 6 million CD sales in a year it sold 803 million CDs - about 0.7% of the total market.

"Using detailed records of transfers of digital music files, we find that file sharing has had no statistically significant effect on purchases of the average album in our sample," the study reports. "Even our most negative point estimate implies that a one-standard-deviation increase in file sharing reduces an album's weekly sales by a mere 368 copies, an effect that is too small to be statistically distinguishable from zero."

Other studies have shown that file-sharing actually increases sales.

In the meantime, the music labels thrash like dying behemoths and strike out willy-nilly at their customers. Vanity Fair has an article on the Pirate Bay, a torrent hub. Yeah, read that again. Vanity Fair has an article on torrents. This is the mainstream, and the industries have three years at most to evolve.

Elsewhere on the Web, Wikia has launched a new venture aimed at creating wiki e-zines, sort of. Wikia is the organization behind Wikipedia, and its "magazine rack" sites hope to host informative, interactive communities based on themes. It's a good idea - in fact, it's such a good idea that it's been done many times over.

I'm no stranger to wikis. (Look here for my latest hobby.) To thrive, a wiki must fill a need. That was key to Wikipedia's success - it is the largest encyclopedia in the world. It covers more than any competitor, and does it for free.

What can Wikia's entertainment site, for example, offer that, Television Without Pity, or Perez Hilton don't have already? I have my doubts that this venture will produce success on the same level as Wikipedia's.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go find torrents for last night's "My Name Is Earl", "Scrubs", "The Office", and "30 Rock". ("Kenny vs. Spenny" was a repeat, so no need to look for that.)

Bonus document from ancient history:

Take a look at this, which I have decided to title "The Egyptian Gynecologist's Guide to Holistic Medicine".


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