Distortions with statistics

AP: "Free peer-to-peer music file-sharing has become larger than the multibillion-dollar recording industry, with a growth trend that has become ‘fundamentally unstoppable,’ a [California] state Senate committee exploring Internet piracy has been warned."

I can’t even imagine what this statistic is supposed to mean. Clearly, P2P file sharing isn’t bigger in revenues than the recording industry. I can’t believe it’s bigger in number of users, since at least a third of Americans don’t even have Internet connections. Maybe they are saying more songs are downloaded than bought, though even that’s pretty questionable.

And what’s the point of this scary-sounding claim? It’s like saying free hard drive backups are bigger than the paid market for backup utilities, ever since Microsoft included a backup function in Windows. And backup utilities used to be a thriving market! No, it’s more silly than that. Unless record sales have dropped >50%, it’s an admission that P2P file trading expands the market.