It appears not. As usual, everything depends on the definitions, or as Clinton put it it: "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is." First, let's examine the industry's claim: a decrease of 7% in "revenue" in last year. Hmmm, okay, well revenue can be affected by a lot of things, including signing crappy bands to bad deals, but since the RIAA is attributing the decline directly to file-sharing, what else but record sales could be affected by that? Oh, they weren't:
- For the first quarter of 2003 Soundscan registered 147,000,000 records sold.
- For the 1st quarter of 2004 Soundscan will report 160,000,000 records sold.
That's 13,000,000 more units, almost a 10% increase in sales since last year. He also confessed that 1st quarter "album sales" (as opposed to overall sales) had increased 9.4% since 2003.
What gives? Well, the RIAA would have you believe that the dire situation with declining sales has nothing to do with...declining sales! Instead, it's all about how much was shipped by the recording companies, not bought. Only shipping went down about 7%. And why is that? It's because music stores aren't buying as much in advance, but have been better able to manage their inventory to match buyers' demand. So, the market is actually more efficient!
Anyway, I'm stealing the author's thunder, as she explains much more thoroughly than I. Still, this is serious hocus pocus going on.