As on-demand streaming services proliferate, will global piracy die down on its own?
As the major labels continue their legal attacks against YouTube stream-rippers, an interesting question is popping up. Is YouTube ‘stream-ripping’ dying on its own?
In its Global Piracy Report for 2017, UK-based Muso tracked 300 billion visits to piracy sites, up 1.6% year-over-year. Streaming music piracy in the UK alone increased 21%. But ‘stream-ripping’ accounted for a mere 4% of the total. It’s also declining alongside broader drops in track downloading.
The company’s global piracy data platform tracks piracy in film, TV, music, publishing, and software.
While most people now subscribe to Spotify and Apple Music, Christopher Elkins, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, explained that piracy “remains a significant challenge.”
Now, Muso has unveiled several surprising facts in its study analyzing 2018 piracy website habits. That includes a marked decrease in YouTube ‘stream-ripping,’ declared a piracy menace by groups like the RIAA.
Are streaming music platforms curbing stream ripping?
Last year, the company tracked over 189 million visits to piracy sites last year.
TV remained the most popular content for piracy. Nearly half (49.4%) of all activity focused on pirating television programs. Film, music, and publishing had a respective share of 17.1%, 16%, and 11.2%. Software piracy came in last place with around 6.2%.
Similar to its results for 2017, the United States topped the list of countries with the most visits to piracy sites – 17 billion. Russia came in second with 14.5 billion, followed by Brazil, India, and France with 10.3 billion, 9.6 billion, and 7.4 billion visits, respectively.
Turkey (7.3 billion), Ukraine (6.1 billion), Indonesia (6 billion), the United Kingdom (5.8 billion), and Germany (5.4 billion) rounded out the top ten.
Developed markets saw a steep decline in piracy compared to 2017. Yet, traffic to infringing content in emerging markets increased. Brazil, for example, saw a 12.5% jump to over 10 billion visits. Citing another example, Indonesia’s traffic to piracy websites increased 9% to 6 billion.
Around the world, software piracy increased 17% between 2017 and 2018. Publishing piracy increased 11%.
In addition, almost 60% of all piracy visits are to unlicensed web streaming sites. This mirrors the trend in legal consumption, helping the market move away from content ownership to on-demand streaming.
Public torrent networks, once a favored piracy delivery method, now account for just 13% of all infringing activity. Stream-ripping also fell 13% between 2017 and 2018 – from 8.9 billion visits to 7.7 billion. This was primarily due to YouTube-MP3.org’s closure in 2017, leading to a 16% drop in overall stream-ripper visits.
In good news for the music industry, music saw the largest overall decline of piracy – 34%.
Sounds like progress and effective enforcement, though Muso criticized the ‘whack-a-mole’ strategy. Speaking about the findings, Andy Chatterley, Muso’s Co-Founder and CEO, explained,
“In 2018, we’ve seen a 10% increase in people bypassing search engines and going directly to the piracy destination of their choice.
“Simply focusing on take-downs is clearly a whack-a-mole approach and, while an essential part of any content protection strategy, it needs to be paired with more progressive thinking.
“With the right mindsight, piracy audiences can offer huge value to rights holders.”
Just don’t forget to tell that to the RIAA, which is currently waging – and losing – its own war against notorious Russian stream-ripper, FLV.to.
Featured image by Roger Gregory (CC by 2.0).