RIAA: Megaupload closure means more users for legit music services

The Recording Industry Association of America believes the death of Megaupload could lead to a jump in legal purchases as customers turn to iTunes and others for their digital music needs. RIAA: Megaupload closure means more users for legit music services

Citing past research from Nielsen, RIAA Vice President of Strategic Data Analysis Joshua P. Friedlander said that the closure of illicit music site Limewire in late 2010 was the catalyst that pushed digital album sales and single track sales up by 19 and 8 percent, respectively.

“Digital music sales that had been flagging jumped in the month immediately after the Limewire shutdown, and have remained stronger ever since,” said Joshua P. Friedlander, vice president of strategic data analysis at the RIAA.

According to Friedlander, those who previously frequented Megaupload may follow suit and not seek out a new illegal music hub.

“[The Megaupload closure] encourages users to go to legitimate sites, and enables great new services to be launched – like Spotify, which launched in the U.S. last year and quickly signed up millions of new users,” Friedlander said.

Apple’s iTunes, however, seems the most likely destination. Months before Limewire’s closure, the online music shop had already recorded over 10 billion song downloads.

Megaupload was seized and closed by the U.S. Department of Justice last week over allegations that it, along with other sites bearing the “Mega” prefix, engaged in mass copyright infringement. Founder Kim Schmitz (AKA Kim Dotcom) and three cohorts were apprehended by New Zealand authorities. The foursome was subsequently denied bail, with an extradition hearing for Schmitz scheduled for February 22.

“Megaupload had been one of the most popular and notorious file sharing services in the United States, and used predominantly for trading unauthorized content including music, movies, and other copyrighted works,” said Friedlander, adding that the site was named a “notorious market” by the U.S. Trade Representative last month. (via RIAA Blog)