Monday, March 21, 2016

Study suggests 'Streamripping' is music's new piracy problem

Written by Alex Powell — Is streaming killing off music piracy? Some forms of streaming are fuelling new methods of copyright infringement, according to US research firm.

Its latest study notes that while the number of Americans using P2P services to download music illegally fell from 41 million in 2004 to 22 million in 2015, that's not the whole story.

'Now there are more forms of unlicensed acquisition available than in 2004; streamripping, downloading from storage lockers, mobile apps, and hard drive swaps,' explained MusicWatch's Russ Crupnick. 'In all forms, we estimate 57M Americans are engaging in these forms of music acquisition.'

The company has given them a name: 'badquirers'. and notes that 35% of CD or download buyers fall into the category. 'This is not exclusively a problem among people unwilling to pay for music.'

MusicWatch suggests several reasons for their behaviour. First: people still want to own music; second, there are tracks that people want to own but not enough to pay for; third: the desire to get music which isn't yet available on licensed streaming services, including remixes and bootlegs; fourth: a growing number of people are 'streamripping' music - ripping MP3s from sources like YouTube and SoundCloud - which is where things get interesting.

'We estimated a 50% increase in the number of streamrippers in the US between the end of 2013 and early 2015.' wrote Crupnick. 'There are nearly as many streamrippers in the US as folks who illegally download music files from P2P networks.'

The study stops short of suggesting ways to tackle these changing trends, but the research - note, based on 1,000 US respondents aged 13-50, and we suspect the streamripping behaviour will be greater for younger people - will have some implications.

Chief among which will be even more discussion of the availability of YouTube and SoundCloud ripping apps and tools - including those released for mobile devices through the app stores of Google and Apple.

Streamripping is not an unknown behaviour within the music industry - particularly for any execs with young teenage children - but quantifying its growth may nudge rightsholders into more discussion about how to tackle it, and perhaps most importantly, how to make legal music services even more appealing to the people who are doing it.

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