The OECD this morning released a much anticipated study on digital music. The study, which is worth reading just for the detailed review of online music services and statistical review of music sales, contains some important conclusions about the impact of P2P on record sales.
In short, the study concludes that "it is very difficult to establish a basis to prove a causal relationship between the size of the drop in music sales and the rise of file sharing. Sales of CDs, as well as the success of licensed on-line music services are likely to have been affected to some degree by a variety of other factors, for example physical piracy and CD burning, competition from other, newer entertainment products and faltering consumer spending in some markets."
The Economist reports that the music industry strongly objected to the study's conclusions, but it only confirms what many of have been saying for some time. P2P may have some impact on music sales but it is by no means the evil that the industry suggests. Add in the compensation from private copying levies in countries such as Canada, and the claims of a negative impact on artists is even more doubtful.