Study: Streaming and spyware are killing music piracy

“It seems that people just aren’t pirating music the way they used to,” Alex Knapp reports for Forbes. “In many cases, because they don’t have to. That’s according to the NPD Group, which just released their ‘Annual Music Study 2012.'”

“That report shows that the number of music files being illegally downloaded was 26% less in 2012 than in 2011,” Knapp reports. “What’s more, 40% of the people surveyed in the study who said that they’d illegally downloaded in 2011 did not do so in 2012.”

Knapp reports, “So what’s responsible for this massive reduction in piracy? According to the survey, it’s not stepped-up enforcement – it’s the availability of free music via streaming services like Spotify. Nearly half of the people who had stopped or sharply reduced their music downloading cited those services as the reason for stopping… 20% of users reported that they’d stopped illegally downloading music either because their favorite site was shut down, or because the sites that are around now are so underground that they’re filled with viruses and spyware.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Music sales grow for first time since 1999 – February 26, 2013
Nielsen: More U.S. teens listen to music via YouTube than iTunes, CDs, or radio – August 14, 2012
Gartner says worldwide online music revenue on record pace in 2011 – November 9, 2011
Jon Bon Jovi: ‘Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business’ – March 14, 2011


  1. no kidding

    i was going to “download” a non-fiction book just to see it first before i buy it. costs $10 in the kindle store.

    the links i found to download it wanted me to install crazy executables. Ok. easier to buy it

        1. I also have a hosts file. Mine is not for piracy, though; it is to block web-based advertising. It works beautifully! Can’t remember when was the last time I saw a Flash-based ad.

          As I have been regular on MDN for many years, to compensate for lack of eyeballs on their (quite intrusive) advertising, I usually purchase all my Apple gear through their affiliate link, thereby funneling more money into their account that what they make by me seeing their ads.

  2. I think Steve Jobs mentioned something about this a while ago. OTOH, what’s a little spyware when you can enjoy the latest Katy Perry single for free. I mean.. after all… really.

  3. I live in Brazil. How the bleep am I supposed to watch Sky Fall?
    Here are my options:

    Apple TV – $200, no subtitles, case closed
    Rent it from a store – are you kidding me? far away and gross!
    Buy – for like $30 at a shopping mall, No!
    Pirated DVD at the street market – $1.50, has subtitles, yes!
    Download it and add subtitles – yes!
    Pay per view – involves a remote and the local cable company, NO!
    Go to the theater – yeah good, $10, ok for a good movie twice a year, but no more

    1. Believe it or not, the studios and distributors did not produce the film so that you could watch it for free. There are a lot of people who make a living producing films for the paying public. With the money that they earn they raise their families, pay their taxes, buy their guns (oh, wait, we’re talking Hollywood here, well, you get the idea).

    2. Yeah, that’s something I remember living in Brazil – really the only way to get anything, whether it was music or movies, was to get it pirated. And it wasn’t even the prices. It was just plain availability. As bad as the studios do with accessibility in the United States, they really do a piss poor job as soon as you cross the border, and if people can’t buy your music or your movies _at all_ then that’s just asking for piracy. Same thing when I look for music by Eastern European artists that just plain isn’t sold in the United States.

        1. If you start arguing on the basis of morality, you are going to fail. People who feel like you’re getting adversarial with them are only going to get defensive and keep doing what they’re doing, if not double down on it. My point is, how about content providers make it easier to distribute their content internationally, and make it easier for their fans to buy it legally? The content provider gets paid, the fan gets the content they want legally, and everyone’s happy. Just making people feel guilty for wanting content, especially when there’s an easy solution that benefits everyone? Epic fail.

          1. I agree that the content distributers can do a much better job of distributing. Having said so, there have been posts here saying that they will not even pay a minimal fee to view the content especially if it is not much trouble to steal it.

            Wanting something in not a crime or even something to feel guilty about. It is the taking it without paying the owner that they need to feel remorse for. Even just thinking about taking it is not considered moral by many.

            1. Yeah, if the content providers (whether it’s music, movies, or TV shows) would make their content more accessible, that would go a long way to reducing the instances of piracy among people for whom those additional channels would make a difference between pirating or consuming it legally. It wouldn’t 100% solve the problem, but it would still go along way.

            1. He doesn’t mean that it’s okay. He just meant that it happened. And improved distribution would make sure it doesn’t happen again, or that it happens less often.

              Sounds like we’re all dancing around the one solution to this whole entire problem, although we’re gradually circling in on it. 😉

            2. I am sure that the Dresden Sparrow can write his own responses. Even with most people deciding to ‘do the right thing’ and pay for content, DS is advocating that you should still take it without paying even if the cost of buying it is very low.

    3. So to be clear, you are saying that people in Brazil have no morality and if they want something, they steal it, they justify the theft they reproduce it and sell it, they produce nothing for the world and are leaches. Did I get it right?

      1. Have you ever been happy about anything? Every day I read MDN and every day you’re here telling other people that they aren’t good enough. I’m not saying that you’re not allowed to have opinions, but sometimes it would be better for everyone if you kept the personal attacks to yourself.

        1. Thanks Luke, you are right. I frequently post statements against idiocy and degradation. There are many delightful things in the world and although I see them everywhere else, I would like to see positive things here on MDN too. Often people just start posting many vociferous things here with no respect for human decency.

    4. I guess I’ll leave the morality issue to the other two posters.

      I don’t understand your options.

      Apple TV has no subtitles so the case is closed, yet you can download the movie and add subtitles? I’ll go with benefit of the doubt here and assume for brevity you left out some steps or something. I paid $109 for my AppleTV, and then another ?$20? for Skyfall, so I’m approaching your $200.

      Rent it from a store is discarded because rental stores in your area of Brazil are far away? Like where? From where I live it’s a 15 minute drive to a rental store, so maybe I’m lucky. And I’ll leave the “gross” to others to explore 😉

      Buy for $30? That’s what we’d pay here in my area of the US for a Bluray version.

      Pirated off the street? Can’t comment: Don’t know anything about that here.

      What’s wrong with the pay-per-view option, really? Is it like the movie theatre option: no residual viewing?

      When I took my kids to see Skyfall in the theatre, the tickets were $10, so we spent $40. And then we bought the iTunes HD version.

      So your prices seem inline with ours… is this an income disparity then? Your listed options and objections do seem to point to a price/value complaint more than a distribution complaint. Maybe that’s a cultural difference though.

      1. I love your astute response.

        I think your final conclusion is the correct one — income disparity. $10 for a movie ticket, or $30 for a disc is just way too much for an average Brazilian income.

        I can completely understand why AppleTV / iTunes store won’t work; subtitles are really essential, and one simply can’t tinker with that DRMed file and add the SRT track. That is why the illegal option is an option, since SRT tracks are available for practically every language on the planet. The quality of translation varies greatly, but it is there, and freely downloadable from many common sites.

      2. Thank you for a good reasonable response. Yes, the prices are inline more or less.
        However, here AppleTV would cost 200 dollars (R$400). Ok, that’s a tax issue, definitely not an Apple issue. But the end effect is the same.
        Last time I checked, which I admit was a while ago, movies on Apple TV (or via iTunes) did not have subtitle options. Maybe it was just the movie I was looking at, but it was a deal breaker since it was a mixed audience.
        Sorry, but I have no idea how to hack an iTunes download to include my own subtitle file.
        Downloading a film and adding subtitles (srt file) is pretty simple.
        And the theater is a great option here. And they don’t dub films generally, which is great. Just subtitles.
        Honestly, I think here Apple TV is the closest thing to a prefect solution. I don’t mind paying 5 or 7 bucks for a quality movie experience (easy download etc), but it’s got to have subtitles and movies have to be available.
        But funny, it’s Apple solving this, not the movie industry who it should concern more.

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