Netflix and Spotify Aren’t Reducing Piracy, Study Finds. ‘Piracy Is Higher Than Ever…’

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Image: Mohamed Hassan (CC0)

Wait: weren’t Spotify and Netflix supposed to eradicate piracy?

According to just-released data, music piracy increased during the first six months of 2017, with brand-new annual highs recorded.  In fact, piracy — across all formats, including music, TV, film, gaming, and books — keeps climbing.

Everyone used to pirate.  Now, everyone just uses Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, or something else legit — right?

Not quite.

According to MUSO’s 2017 Global Piracy Report, there were 73.9 billion visits to music piracy sites worldwide last year.  That’s an all-time high, though TV and video-related piracy sites are solidly in the lead.  Looks like the piracy monster is steadily shifting towards bigger-bandwidth video, though the overall appetite is increasing.

Also worth nothing: the overall number of people online keeps growing.  That makes comparisons to earlier eras difficult, especially when absolute numbers are used.

Overall, MUSO was able to record 300 billion visits to piracy sites across-the-board, suggesting that “piracy is more popular than ever.”

TV remained the favorite with 106.9 billion site visits, with most preferring streaming over torrents or direct downloading.  In fact, streaming piracy now constitutes the majority of pirate visits for all formats, at 53%.  Torrenting and direct downloading remain strong, but far behind.\

Music piracy followed, with film landing third with 53.2 billion visits.

+ These Are the Biggest Music Piracy Hubs In the World

There’s a belief that the rise in popularity of on-demand services such as Netflix and Spotify have solved piracy.  Sounds logical, but that theory simply doesn’t quite stack up.  According to MUSO co-founder/CEO Andy Chatterly, “our data suggest that piracy is more popular than ever.”

Indeed, this is an animal that’s getting more complicated.  MUSO broke down five different types of piracy within music: web streaming sites (30.5 billion); web download sites (21.2 billion); streaming ripping sites (15.7 billion); public torrent sites (6 billion) and private torrent sites (500 million).

Streaming and streaming-related piracy are easily the biggest chunk of the brand-new pie.

Notably, music piracy is heavily skewed toward mobile users: 87.13 percent of those visits overall were accessed via mobile, compared to just 52 percent for TV.

Piracy — across all formats — has yet to see a significant decline, and remains a long way from being eradicated (if that’s even possible).  But there is room for optimism. MUSO’s data shows that some of the industry’s anti-piracy battles are making significant progress, specifically against stream-ripping sites. Let’s wait and see.

According to the data. visits to stream-ripping piracy sites declined 33.86 percent in the last half of the year.



4 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    It’s not about reducing piracy, because that’s impossible. Any claims these companies made about their ability to reduce piracy are and have always been false. It’s about how to prosper in spite of it.

    Netflix runs a profitable business, from what I can tell. Most of their content (aside from their original programming) is windowed in some fashion. Anything you can find on Netflix is available on the torrent and streaming piracy sites. Yet their business, and the content creators involved with their business, appear to be doing quite well.

    Spotify does not run a profitable business. Almost no content is windowed, except for the odd Adele or Taylor Swift album. They are about to go public, which will allow a very few high level executives and investors to become very rich, in spite of the lack of profits. Most content creators don’t make enough money though Spotify to make ends meet, except for perhaps the top 1%. All based on the promise of reducing piracy, which it doesn’t actually do.

    We need a healthy ecosystem that benefits content creators, not just a few high level executives. We need profits, not market share. Spotify needs to be more like Netflix. We need windowed releases, and the eradication of “fremium” interactive streaming.

    • Anonymous

      Netflix actually has the worst model,it doesn’t offer the variety that Spotify offers on their product amd charges you a lot for only a pair of series that you will watcg and a lot of bad ones, that’s why Netflix will eventually go down hill with their competitors, just like cable TV did…

  2. nerdrage

    If giving people tons of content for ten bucks a month doesn’t reduce piracy then screw it, nothing will. Content can’t be created for free (well except cat videos on YouTube) and some people just want something for nothing.

    But I’m not sure I trust this study There is plenty of evidence that the difference between pirates and non-pirates is that pirates consume more media overall. In other words, pirates ARE paying customers, they just get additional content for free, but would they pay for that content if they had to, or just ratchet back their levels of media consumption, which are probably unhealthy anyway?

    • Anonymous

      It doesn’t reduce piracy because they have a very limited selection, if they want to reduce it, they should offer everything possible, but seen how competition is raising, that will be impossible, it’s the same reason to why people started pirating years ago, competition makes lack of content on either side…