1. Revenue can be found in new markets/areas
2. Piracy actually enhances profit
3. Artists need to be creative and adapt in the digital economy
It is a very compelling argument, but has all the same problems I have always struggled with. First, this is an apples to oranges comparison, as Iron Maiden became famous, and more importantly, commercially successful in the old economy. I first noticed this flaw in thinking a few years back when considering the case of Nine Inch Nails. Yes, Reznor was doing amazing things and figuring out ways to make a profit, but my academic training had taught me to look at things as rigorously as possible, and I began recognizing the same trend in all of the examples and "proof" that file sharing is good or at the least neutral: almost all of the examples made their name in the old market before launching into the new one. For example, J.K Rowling knew she would sell lots of ebooks before launching Pottermore- not so the intrepid start-up who lacks the same name recognition. Almost all of the examples make the same analytical mistake and it is a huge one.
The mistake is this. The fundamental problem of being successful on the internet is being discovered by enough fans to make a profit. This is the fundamental problem in any market whether digital or traditional. ALL of the examples given for the "new" market were discovered in the old, which invalidates the argument. Instead, we should be focusing on artists like PSY, Lana Del Ray, or the self published authors on Amazon and Smashwords. The examples do exist, it is just a bit murkier understanding what their success indicates. How do we interpret it and understand it's implications for the market, copyright law, etc?
With the type of rich vs poor mythology at play in our culture it would be easy to see this as just another example of the rich getting richer and the poor getting less. But that kind of a conclusion does not follow the evidence yet. PSY and others can and do make it in the new economy. The problem is that "studies" like the one referenced in the article from the London School of Economics are actually quite poor. We just don't know what will happen and how. The ecosystem is in a state of chaos. We don't know if what evolves at the other end will be "better" than what was. But if a bunch of aging metal heads can make lemonade out of it, at least we can hope.
Don't click here unless you like 80s metal. ;-)