Despite the rise of streaming services, music piracy persists
Music industry professionals hoped that streaming would end piracy. But it didn’t work that way. One in five American internet users still downloads music files illegally, according to a new report from MusicWatch.
The illegal downloading and sharing of music files introduced by Napster, Limewire and others has led to a vision of piracy so pervasive that it was once thought to be unalterable.
And then came streaming platforms like Spotify. They worked hard to convince consumers that it was better to pay for music; a paradigm shift that has led some commentators to believe that the days of music piracy are numbered.
But that hasn’t happened yet, according to Russ Crupnick, a MusicWatch analyst. Eight million American Internet users over the age of 13 illegally downloaded music from a peer-to-peer (P2P) site or “torrent” network in 2020.
But the phenomenon is even more significant if we take into account all the pirating modes that exist, or “badquisition” in MusicWatch jargon.
Fifty-four million Americans obtained music files fraudulently last year. This is one in five Internet users.
The ease of hacking
Many of them have engaged in “stream ripping”, an illegal practice of making a permanent copy of streaming content. MusicWatch estimates in an article on Hypebot that there are 16 million stream rippers in the United States.
Besides stream ripping and illegal downloads via P2P and torrent networks, some mobile apps are popular with unscrupulous music lovers for music file piracy. This would be the case for 23 million Americans.
However, one question remains: at a time when streaming services offer access to catalogs of millions of titles, why do some people still resort to music piracy? This is because it’s easy to do … and because of a lack of knowledge about certain features of Spotify and other services.
According to MusicWatch, most people who download music illegally do so so that they can listen to their favorite songs without having an internet connection – an option that all streaming services now offer.
“Given that the majority of ‘Badquirers’ actually pay for a streaming service, this suggests that many are unaware that they can save their service’s music for offline listening. Awareness around this feature could help mitigate Badquisition, ”notes Russ Crupnick.
A small price to pay to end music piracy. – AFP Relaxnews