Turns Out Smartphones are Giant Music Piracy Machines

Mobile Music Piracy

Smartphones are slowly supplanting desktops when it comes to almost every form of music piracy.  But this is a lot more complicated than just shifting screens.

Last week, Digital Music News delved into the quickly shifting terrain of music piracy, one that now involves less torrenting and a lot more stream-ripping from YouTube.  It also involves greater amounts of ‘Popcorn Time’ style streaming and web-based MP3 download sites (RIP MP3skull).  But a lot of that is happening on smartphones instead of desktops, which makes sense given the massive amount of time people spend on their increasingly powerful and better-connected devices.

Mobile Music Piracy

Enter Exhibit A: according to exclusive data supplied by music piracy tracker Muso, smartphones now account for nearly 30 percent of all music piracy.  That is a ratio that is rapidly shifting towards handheld devices, though mobile isn’t catching up. Rather, smartphones are driving the future of where music piracy is headed.

At a top level, part of that is being fueled by simple convenience: a phone is always on hand, a desktop (or laptop) is only available when you’re sitting in front of it.  But dig a layer deeper, and mobile-based piracy is also surging alongside other forms of piracy, most notably stream-ripping (often from YouTube) and live-time streaming.  That isn’t an accidental correlation, with both device and platform fueling one another’s growth.

Which brings to this stunning stat: a majority of stream-ripping is now coming from mobile devices, a shift that speaks volumes on where music piracy is heading.  “The ripper piracy from mobile devices overtook piracy from desktop devices, growing by 46 percent last year,” Muso researchers relayed to DMN.  “The usage of these sites is far larger than many realize, in fact making up 17.7 percent of all visits to piracy sites for music content.”

This amounts to a megaton on mobile-based piracy.  Over the course of 2015, Muso tracked 141 billion visits to more than 14,000 pirate sites, which means roughly 40 billion visits are coming from mobile devices.

Ripping is far less complicated than torrenting, which is by no means closed to mobile devices.  But realtime, ‘Popcorn Time’ style streaming is also ready-made for mobile, just like its legitimate cousins Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music and a myriad of other services designed for on-the-go access.


All of which makes it the perfect time for someone to launch mobile-focused, killer piracy app.

Image: Jake Stimpson, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.o).

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