The File Sharing Experiment is a project with the goal of demonstrating how file sharing actually helps the music, movie, and software industry. Folks are encouraged to post purchases they’ve made and a short explanation of how they learned about the band/movie/game and why they ended up buying something for it. All the evidence is anectdotal, but when taken together, it’s already over a quarter million dollars in reported sales and the site has been up for one week.
Personally, this was the point I tried to make in the heyday of Napster. You could find anything on Napster, but rarely could you find complete albums, so the service had the effect of promoting CD sales. I would often surf others’ music lists whenever I noticed things I liked, download the things I hadn’t ever heard of, then I’d end up buying CDs from Amazon.