Sunday, July 31, 2016

Is Online Music Piracy Still A Problem?

Is Online Music Piracy Still a Problem?

In the middle of 2016, audio streaming has taken over video in the US. With the rising popularity of online music streaming services, is music piracy still a problem?

Online culture and lifestyle hub Provenance Magazine takes a look at the issue by conducting a survey and studying various data sources.

MELBOURNE, Australia, July 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Legally accessing almost any song you want to hear has never been easier or more inexpensive.

BBC: Audio streaming has taken over video in the US

In July 2016, the BBC announced that audio streaming has overtaken video for the first time in the US, thanks to several high-profile album releases by the likes of Drake, Beyoncé and Rihanna.

In the first half of 2016, online streaming services delivered some 114 billion audio streams, compared with 95 billion video streams.

The streaming market has increased by 58% year-on-year.

With the advent of smartphones and the rising popularity of music streaming apps, like Apple Music, Spotify, Rdio, and most recently YouTubeRed, we've now been granted access to a world of music that is literally at our fingertips, completely legally, and at a low monthly fee, or even free with running costs supported by advertising.

As of mid-2016, there are more than 20 popular music streaming apps available. According to Spotify, (one of the most popular apps) they boast a base of over 75 million users, while Pandora lists over 250 million registered users, with 79.4 million active users as of 2015 last year.

Legally purchasing music has also never been easier. iTunes, Amazon Music and Google Play require just a click to download and permanently keep songs from your favorite artists. Rather not purchase an entire album? Simple; buy a single track for a fraction of the cost.

These promising statistics and encouraging developments would suggest that people are flocking to such streaming services and moving away from pirating music through torrents and peer-to-peer networks. The signs are that the days of music piracy are coming to an end, right?

It appears not to be the case.

Despite low costs, abundant options and enhanced accessibility to music, the indications are that file sharing may still be on the rise, suggesting that music piracy is also still on an upward spiral.

A data report, published by CiscoVisual Networking, shows that an average of 858 petabytes (1 petabyte = 1 million gigabytes) of files were shared, per month, in 2015. This figure increased to 932 petabytes in 2016, and is forecast to increase to 1,019 petabytes in 2017.

Content protection company MUSO recently revealed 2016 data showing that during 2015, music piracy, in the form of direct downloads, grew by a staggering 31%.

Culture and lifestyle hub Provenance Magazine has taken a closer, more personal, look at the problem by conducting a study of 100 US-based participants, analysing their music-downloading habits with online music use and piracy. The magazine's findings uncovered the following data on the topic:

Out of the 100 participants, nearly 78% are currently using an online-streaming app.

32% admit to pirating music at least once a month.

10.7% have kicked the habit of pirating music, opting for streaming apps or purchases.

8.7% admitted they still pirate music, simply out of habit.

11.65% of participants justified their habits, saying they pirate music, but claim to support the artists in other ways, for example, paying to see them in concert.

Promisingly, numerous subjects admitted previously pirating music because it was the easiest way. However, there are now easier options, and they're willing to pay a reasonable price for the streaming app they use.

65% of subjects also believe that music streaming will become more popular than online music piracy in the next five years.

Andy Lee, Provenance Magazine's editor-in-chief, also has an optimistic outlook on the issue, suggesting that trends will shift with time.

"When we look at the big picture of the Internet, online music streaming is still a relatively new player in the mainstream spotlight. There are heaps of great services out there, all continually evolving their technologies and offering faster, cheaper, and more full-featured service than their competition. It's an easy, low-cost and convenient trend that's catching on, and will only gain momentum over the next few years," he says.

Lee also shared another interesting perspective on music piracy.

"Once people see their favorite acts or artists from an intimate perspective, either at a concert in real-life or telling their story in an interview, people quite often feel more of a personal connection with the performers and become more reluctant to pirate their work, viewing the artist as a person as opposed to mere digital entity.

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