As Cary Sherman, President of the RIAA, began talking at the Personal Democracy conference in NYC, people seemingly knew what they were in for. He decried the evils of illegal downloading and copyright infringement, but as he went on, he revealed the troubling statistic that people who identify as paid musicians has dropped 41% since 1999. Quite shocking to say the least, but Matthew Lasar became skeptical and decided to investigate, refuting those claims. In the end, Lasar decided that he and the RIAA could both be right or wrong, depending on interpretation. Via Ars Technica:

Disturbed by this revelation, I followed the trail of comments stemming from Resnikoff’s missive, which quarreled over the ethics of illegal file sharing and the efficacy of various business models. But what struck me was that none of these debaters double checked the arithmetic construed from the table. After all, if you think about it, this is an astounding claim to make: that the United States has lost something approaching half of its paid musicians since 1999.

You can watch Sherman’s presentation below.

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