Some people say that SOPA is due to the effect of downloads on the music industry. This leads me to wonder we really know what the effect was. I know that a few years ago there was a massive drop in sales due to piracy. Empirically that was because the pirates/consumers understood the new world a lot faster than the big corporations. Nowadays I see the likes of iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and last.fm with sophisticated recommendation engines and really easy to use interfaces for purchasing music legally, with a much lower cost for delivering the music and yet they charge not that much less for purchasing it. People can buy the music without having to pay to travel to a shop, so more impulse buys and more speculative ones, they can pay to download it without a risk of viruses and without being restricted to only the more popular albums. Spotify, last.fm, sky etc are “making” people pay to listen to albums they already own. New artists/start up bands as well as very established ones are selling music directly to the people on-line and probably making more money than they did when the corporations were involved. Touring artists like Prince are giving their albums away and still making a fortune from the tour. Lady Gaga says she’s happy with the amount of money she makes even though she’s the most pirated artist. I know Lily Allen is moaning that she’s not making money because she’s stopped touring and people aren’t buying her music but she’s only famous because the bootlegs of her music spread for free over the net, and I bet she makes a lot from The X Factor etc using her music as the backing track to the sob stories. I know I consume a lot more music than I used to and through the choice and availability that the net brings and the sophisticated recommendation engines and the information about discographies on wikipedia, and I spend a lot more, particularly on concerts. So although there was a significant dip in music revenue due to piracy I doubt that this has continued.