Duke University and the Department of Justice recently published paper entitled “The Determinants of Music Piracy in a Sample of College Students .” In this essay they examine a group of college students from a Southern University to determine their willingness to purchase music (WTP), at which price they would be willing to purchase music, and also determined each students morality using a five question proxy measure developed by Wood et al. (1998)
In this survey they used the same song for all college students, Flo Rida's “Right Round,” which was iTunes' number one song at the time the survey was taken. (Bellemare & Holmburg, 2009, p. 3) The price they were asked if they were willing to pay was equal to the last two digits in their Social Security Number (SSN). On average the WTP they observed was roughly equal to $0.68. (Bellemare & Holmburg, 2009, p. 3) They had determined that lowering the price of songs on iTunes to the average WTP would decrease piracy significantly.
In many ways the survey conducted by Duke University and the Department of Justice is flawed. The author believes these minor flaws are enough to skew the results significantly enough to null this survey data, and the author feels that this essay is biased. The essay concludes that music pirates are essentially immoral, tight wads.
Perhaps the college students who weren't willing to pay for Flo Rida's “Right Round” simply do not like the song. It may have been the most downloaded song on iTunes, which sells to multiple countries, but it may not have been the most popular among the small group of Southern college students. Perhaps the students, from the South, were country fans or rock fans. The students should have been asked if they would be willing to pay for a song catered more specifically to their musical tastes. For instance they would be asked their favorite genre, and then asked if they would purchase the number one song from that genre over downloading it illegally. More people may be willing to purchase music from their favorite artists, than ones they listen to occasionally or not at all.
Moreover, if the Southern students didn't purchase music from...