According to a new report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) more than one-third of global music listeners are still pirating music.
Despite the rise in legal streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, which were expected to have lessened illegal consumption, 38 per cent of music listeners continue to acquire music through illegal means.
The most popular form of copyright infringement is stream ripping (32 per cent) using easily available online software to record the audio from sites such as YouTube at a lower quality rate. Downloads through file hosting services or P2P software such as BitTorrent was second (23 per cent), with search engine acquisition the third most popular method (17 per cent).
David Price, director of insight and analysis at IFPI said: “Music piracy has disappeared from the media in the past few years but it certainly hasn’t gone away.
“People still like free stuff, so it doesn’t surprise us that there are a lot of people engaged in this. And it’s relatively easy to pirate music, which is a difficult thing for us to say.”
For the majority, the primary reason for using these illegal measures of music piracy is being able to listen to music offline without having to pay for premium subscriptions to the likes of Spotify. Most legal streaming services charge around £10 per month to listen without adverts.
The IFPI Director placed much of the blame for the piracy on large video platforms such as YouTube for not doing enough to prevent it.
Working in tandem with record labels, the IFPI helped close down one of the biggest stream-ripping sites, YouTube-MP3, back in September 2017.
He said: “There are certain areas where they could improve on the security front, such as better encryption.
“Stream-ripping sites often involve simply entering a link from YouTube, with the sites then generating a free MP3 file from the link to illegally download. There’s no way of giving sites a link from Spotify or Netflix and getting an immediate download.”
He also highlighted the importance of changing the law to emphasise the illegality of stream ripping sites and make it more difficult for sites to access revenue through advertising.
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