Music + Technology + Random Nonsense from the Music Industry by Ethan Kaplan, VP Product, Live Nation

Most fans paid $0 for Radiohead album – Yahoo! News

The results of the study were drawn from data gathered from a few hundred people who are part of comScore’s database of 2 million computer users worldwide. The firm, which has permission to monitor the computer users’ online behavior, did not provide a margin of error for the study’s results. [From Most fans paid $0 for Radiohead album - Yahoo! News]

In what world does a “few out of a hundred” translate to “Most”??????

Can someone answer to me how mainstream journalism has survived this long?

 UPDATE: To be clear to my bloggy brethren, I’m not saying a damn thing about Radiohead in this post, but just saying that mainstream journalism is ridiculous and stupid. NO RADIOHEAD COMMENTARY!!!!!! No Comscore commentary either (other than to say sampling theory doesn’t work when it applies to an intrinsically probabalistic sampling pool, ie people) 

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4 Responses

  1. Nicole says:

    Wow. That’s horrible.

    Most #1 releases in CD format in the US sell 100k – 200k in the first week. Let’s say conservativley that 100,000 people downloaded the Radiohead album in an entire *month*. So they surveyed “a few hundred” — we’ll say that’s 400 — leaving us a sample size of .4%. Perhaps not horrible by itself, but ComScore has a database of only 2 million users *worldwide*. Thus, we’re working with a sample of a sample of a population. There’s also no mention of margins of error.

    Veiga apparently has no taste for statistical follow through.

  2. Jason Sares says:

    The problem is journalists come up with an angle and then look for sources that support their idea.

  3. Stuart Miller says:

    I don’t know what the fuss is all about. It’s called sampling theory and it’s been around for years — and it works. If you don’t believe in the validity of sampling, next time you go to the doctor and he wants to “take a little blood”, you should tell him to “take it all”!

  4. Nicole says:

    @Stuart: Thanks, but I understand statistics. However, I have a problem with the way this information was reported — no mention of who ComScore is, how they compile their database (which could already be biased data), or why their information should be trusted, in addition to a lack of other information like margins of error. When you’re talking about a sample size of “a few hundred” margins of error can be huge. And about that sample, “a few hundred” doesn’t seem like a sample size that would result in a proper representation of the entire world population.