LSAT Logic: Downloading mp3s of Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse LSAT BlogI just sent the following email to Perez Hilton:
I'll cover celebrities on LSAT Blog every now and then if you'll cover the LSAT on your blog.
Mr. Hilton hasn't responded yet, but he's a busy man. I'm starting on my end with the expectation that he'll reciprocate.

I start by covering the drug habit of the sexy-voiced, but occasionally scary-looking, Amy Winehouse.

Yes, I know her drug habit isn't news. Being an LSAT tutor makes it difficult to keep up with celebrity gossip without becoming violently ill.

Anyway, I've included (above) a photo of Ms. Winehouse on one of her good days.

Unfortunately, her massive drug habit led her father-in-law to call for a boycott of her music:
Perhaps it is time to stop buying records. It's a possibility, to send that message.

One fan created the following "poster" to support the boycott:

(Photo by spinneyhead / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In case you can't see the photo, the poster says:
Record sales fund their drug habits. For their sake, download.
Yes, record sales probably do a bit to support Amy Winehouse's drug habit.

However, it's possible that boycotting purchases of her albums and downloading her music instead will not necessarily lead her to stop abusing drugs.

Here are several problems with the father-in-law's (and poster's) argument:

1. Like most Grammy winners whose albums have gone platinum several times, Ms. Winehouse probably has quite a bit of money. She probably has enough savings to support her drug habit for the rest of her life.

2. Replacing record sales with downloads may actually increase Ms. Winehouse's fan base as a whole. mp3s are viral. friends will share them, and her fan base will grow. Ms. Winehouse might actually prefer that people download her music instead of buying her albums, in order to incrase her reach and increase ticket sales.

3. The image above should've specified that the consumer download her music illegally. If consumers download her music on iTunes, Ms. Winehouse still gets a cut, and it might not hurt her purse much, if at all.

4. I'm not an expert on the music industry, but it's my understanding that musicians make more money from concerts and swag than from albums. Most money from albums goes to record labels and marketing efforts. A boycott of her albums isn't likely to really hit her in the purse much. The image probably should've told people to boycott her concerts and not to listen to her music at all.

5. A boycott of her albums might further harm Ms. Winehouse's fragile mental state and sap her desire to be sober (if any). It might depress her to the point that she actually increases her use of drugs.

What do you think?

In what ways can we strengthen or weaken the argument in favor of the boycott?

What sort of information would be most useful to know in evaluating a potential boycott's effectiveness?

Finally, what celebrity would you like me to cover next? Links and topics are welcome.

Leave comments!

Photo at top by douglascason / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


  1. I don't really know where to post this but as I was going through Flaw In Reasoning questions on the Next 10 LSATs I came across a question (PT 37, S4, #17) that, if I'm not mistaken, had two legitimate flaws in the reasoning and both were listed in the question stem. I chose the cause and effect flaw (that the author assumes a causal relationship instead of a correlation), yet the correct answer listed was a numbers flaw. Now I realize that you are supposed to choose the BEST answer, but whose to say one type of flaw is better than another? Thank you so much for all your amazing help!

  2. Lol Steve, I love how you make everything an LSAT moment. I needed that because some of the steam was dying out in my LSAT study train. Keep up the awesome posts you are helping out a lot. :o)

  3. In what ways can we strengthen or weaken the argument in favor of the boycott?

    Strengthen, if true: boycotts are an effective way to change a person's behavior, selling records is the largest flow of income for artists, the lack of record sales will result in Ms. Winehouse being dropped by her label and losing a extremely valuable recording contract and possible monetary advances

    Weaken, if true: Ms. Winehouse's fan base primarily consists of drug abusers identify with her because she also does drugs, Ms. Winehouse's would not be able to create popular music without drugs, the boycott will raise public awareness of Ms. Winehouse's existence who will listen to her music and may end up buying or legally downloading her records, Ms. Winehouse's drug habit is solely funded by another source

    However, I do want to mention that Chris Brown's boycott was pretty effective in my opinion; I rarely hear about new songs or whatever he's up to.

    What sort of information would be most useful to know in evaluating a potential boycott's effectiveness?

    Does it reach the people who currently buy or have bought her music? Will they agree with her father's reasoning? How much does Ms. Winehouse depend on record sales to support her drug habit?

    Finally, what celebrity would you like me to cover next? Links and topics are welcome.

    SNSD/Girls' Generation

  4. Steve and anyone else that would like to comment, (I'd really like Steve's opinion though)

    Okay my comment has nothing to do with this post, but I would LOVE to get your advice on this...

    Since the questions in the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT are much harder as you approach 10-24,5,or 6, would you think it is a bad/good idea to start at the end of the section and work your way to question 1?

    Thank you for your opinion, I'd like to hear negatives and positives if there are any..

  5. @Anonymous 4/23

    I'm sorry, but I can't explain specific LSAT questions on request.

    Writing an explanation of any LSAT question takes a great deal of time. I offer LSAT tutoring for a living, so my students' needs and questions must take precedence. I also write blog posts each week, which will help everyone who reads and subscribes to the blog.

    If you'd like tutoring (I do offer distance tutoring, so it's okay if you're not in NYC), please email me at ManhattanLSAT at gmail dot com, and I'll send you more details.

    Thanks for understanding.


    Glad you enjoyed it!


    EXCELLENT job with the strengthen, weaken, and evaluate - every one of them was on the money.

    Not familiar with that band, and certainly wasn't expecting K-Pop, but since your comment was so awesome, I'll look through that wiki link and see if any arguments come up that I can analyze.


    Yes, the LR is rather helpfully arranged in a general order of difficulty. I would recommend starting at the beginning since they get progressively more difficult. If you start with the hardest questions and work backwards towards the easier ones, you risk not getting to all the easy ones.

    Generally speaking, it makes the most sense to answer the easiest questions (the lowest-hanging fruit) first.