Rating figures for music are now much more difficult to calculate compared to a decade ago. The introduction of new formats for selling music means that figures have to be calculated based on more methods such as downloads, in addition to the sales of CDs in shops. Additionally, the availability of more formats means that there is more potential for copies of works to be shared with other fans, who do not pay for them. These fans do not show up in the ratings, so the official ratings do not reflect the relative popularity of a work.
Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the above argument?
A. The calculation of ratings based on downloads and sales together is not difficult.
B. Sharing copies of purchased works with others is against the law.
C. Artists are not interested in the popularity of their work, just the sales figures.
D. The sharing of works with other fans is more widespread for certain types of music.
E. Official ratings have never reflected popularity very well.
- Find the Argument
- Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
- Eliminate easy options
These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)
The argument in the text is that the official rating figures for music are not reflective of the relative popularity of music. The evidence used it showing that there are more formats for selling music, which adds to the complexity of counting these figures, and there is also copying of music that are not paid for which can be even more difficult to track. Now let’s analyze the answers:
A The calculation of ratings based on downloads and sales together is not difficult;
This would weaken the argument. The argument tried to prove that the ratings are not reflective, but saying the calculation of downloads and sales is not difficult weakens our argument slightly. That being said, this statement also neglects the fans who share works, so regardless our argument stands because it is saying that the ratings are not reflective because these fans who share work are not included. Therefore A cannot be the answer.
B Sharing copies of purchased works with others is against the law;
This does not really have an effect on the argument. Although it may deter some people, there is still people who would share these works. This could also weaken the argument because if it was against the law, maybe more people would be discouraged to share works so less would do it. Therefore B cannot be the answer.
C Artists are not interested in the popularity of their work, just the sales figures;
This is not related to the argument. The focus of the argument is that these official ratings are not reflective of the popularity of a work because it does not include the fans who share works. The artists opinions are not considered, and this statement is not pertinent to the author’s argument. Therefore C cannot be the answer.
D The sharing of works with other fans is more widespread for certain types of music;
This statement strengthens the argument by adding another inconsistent into the mix. If all the sharing of works was consistent across all genres, we could almost ignore it and just focus on sales because we know that every song would have about the same amount of sharing. This statement however says that it varies across certain types of music creating inconsistencies that could have some artists have most of their fans listen via shared works, and some artists who have almost no listeners from shared work but only downloads. This would prevent us from knowing who is more popular based off the amount of listeners because you would not be able to measure the shared listeners, which would vary across different types of music. Therefore D is the answer.
E Official ratings have never reflected popularity very well;
Even if the official ratings have never reflected popularity well, the text also states that the rating figures are much more difficult to calculate now compared to a decade ago. So if the popularity in the past was not well reflected by the ratings when they were easier to calculate, then now we can only imagine it is much worse. This statement does not strengthen the argument, it would be more toward the weakening side. It is trying to dismiss the fact that now it is harder to measure popularity based on ratings. Therefore E cannot be the answer.