According to research group Muso, most people know that piracy is wrong, but do it anyway.
Want to know the reason why people pirate media content? Because they can’t find any legal alternatives. That’s according to a new study published by British anti-piracy firm, Muso.
Apparently, this is a bigger problem than the industry thinks. The group previously found that piracy rose 1.6% around the world in 2017.
Surveying 1,000 UK adults via CitizenMe, an app that rewards users for completing surveys, Muso found that 60% admitted to illegally downloading or streaming music, film, and TV programs. Of those, a whopping 83% they had tried to find the content on existing streaming services before pirating.
Of course, these are self-reported surveys, which can lead to serious inaccuracies. That’s especially true when it comes to piracy, given that the activity being self-reported is illegal. Still, a very large percentage admitted to piracy.
53% felt that accessing content illegally is wrong, but did it anyway. But, why?
35.2% of respondents cited a cost barrier as the reason behind illegal downloads and content streaming. Basically, they can’t afford to download or stream music, movies, and TV series legally.
34.9% claimed they couldn’t find their preferred media content on existing subscription services or channels. 34.7% said that companies simply hadn’t made the content available where they live. They had only pirated media content to circumvent that problem.
Speaking on the study’s surprising results, Paul Briley, CCO of Muso, said,
“The reality is that the majority of people who have gone through the effort of finding and accessing such unlicensed content are, first and foremost, fans – fans who are more often than not trying to get content legally if they can.”
In fact, the survey’s next findings support his hypothesis.
A whopping 86% of all respondents have already subscribed to a streaming service, including Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch their favorite movies and TV shows. To stream their favorite music, a large percentage had an existing subscription to Spotify Premium or Apple Music. Among admitted ‘pirates,’ the number jumped to 91%.
The study underscores one key fact. The growing availability of streaming services – whether music, film, or television – has yet to eliminate existing piracy habits. In fact, music and media companies may never completely eradicate piracy.
“There is a prevailing myth that streaming services have killed piracy, but unfortunately this just isn’t the case… The fact that nine out of ten people who are accessing unlicensed content also have legal subscription services, simply supports the fact that subscription services haven’t solved the problem for content owners or consumers.”
So, how can music and media companies fix this problem in the long run? According to Bailey, they should make an effort to engage with their existing audience.
“If content owners accept that these are high-intent audiences, they can explore new ways of making their content more readily discoverable, engage these audiences, and create new revenue opportunity in the process.”
Featured image by Steve Parkinson (CC by 2.0)