Are Most Illegal Downloads Happening on Mobile Applications?

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Music piracy is a multi-faceted issue.

On one hand, record labels try to clamp down on anything that remotely resembles piracy, while still using outdated business models.  Elsewhere, companies like YouTube basically give major labels free reign over copyright issues, while taking free reign themselves though liberal use of the DMCA.

Then, there are companies that enable vast amounts of piracy, all while claiming to promote dissemination of information and tech innovation.

Enter everyday music fans, many of whom are (still) downloading their favorite albums for free.  If they can find any album they want using Google, then they can’t be bothered to support the artists they supposedly love so much.

But where exactly is that still happening?  New information published by re/code suggests that music piracy habits are becoming even more complex, with people moving towards smartphones at an increasing rate.

Global market research company NPD Group says mobile applications are now the largest source of free music downloads.

According to NPD Group’s data, 27 million people in the United States used a mobile application to download free music in the past year, “much of it believed to be unauthorized”. They estimate that 21 million people use peer to peer sites to download music.

Russ Crupnick, NPD’s Sr. Vice President of Industry Analysis told re/code: “As the technology improves, it becomes a free for all for someone who wants free music files.”

Someone should probably take a closer look and find out what percent of the 27 million is actually unauthorized.


Image by Rafe Blandford on Flickr.  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. (CC BY 2.0)

8 Responses

  1. JBiz

    Rest assured Paul, a protected internet is closer than you think. The next generation will go back to valuing its culture. The present one — not so much.

  2. Anonymous

    “while still using outdated business models”

    More boring pirate speak. You are aware that artists make 80-90% of their income from download sales, yes?

    While Spotify windowing is the new black.

    “Then there’s companies that enable vast amounts of piracy, claiming to promote dissemination of information and tech innovation”

    Only pirates believe that organized crime sites promote any kind of innovation.

    Pirates don’t create, they steal. The result is less money for music production — which means less money for artistic innovation.

    • Dan

      here here – why we let pirates like this fuckwit spout their bollocks in public I don’t know.

      Having someone pay for a good or service is not an outdated business model – it happens all the time in the ‘real’ world. You pirate scum think that because it’s on the internet that the law doesn’t apply to you – if you shoplifted from a record store you’d be in prison.

  3. Casey

    Most of the 27 million are probably using Youtube downloaders. Simple, effective, and offer a very low chance of ever getting caught. Hell most people probably don’t even know it is illegal.

    • TuneHunter

      if you count YT rippers you will be at 127 million in US and not far from one billion globally.
      YouTube is blessed by Mr. Francis Killing to kill all other pirates in existence!
      Universal created Vevo is the main hub of YouTube if the play it “right” YT will take over half of the music traffic for just five billion in music revenues. Let’s VeeVooooo!

  4. anonymous

    You are kidding yourself if you think the labels and pubs are doing their part to fight piracy. I have experienced the disbelief first hand trying to work w/ labels and publishers to innovate legally and reporting numerous mobile apps who could be easily taken down from the app store, but they choose to do nothing. The message they are sending is to pirate your way to success then you can afford to stroke a bigger check once you have traction.