Preliminary data suggests that digital media piracy has spiked since the domestic onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis – and the implementation of stay-at-home orders and social-distancing guidelines.
Media-piracy tracking and analysis company Muso brought the troubling trend to light in a recent study, data from which was shared with Digital Music News this morning.
Americans visited piracy websites/apps more than one billion times throughout March, according to said study; this figure was the largest of any country in the world. Russia came in second place, in terms of piracy visits during March, with about 727 million, whereas India and its over 581 million piracy visits secured the list’s third slot. It’s unclear how many of these visits pertained specifically to music piracy.
However, Muso’s survey indicates that the film industry is being hit especially hard, piracy-wise.
In the United States, movies’ total piracy visits, including both streaming and torrenting, hiked by over 30 percent through March 20th, compared to the same period in February. Average daily film-piracy visits experienced a nearly one-quarter boost, during the mentioned period in March.
Plus, software’s total U.S. piracy jumped by almost 25 percent, because of a nearly 17 percent increase in average daily piracy visits.
Addressing the staggering digital-piracy uptick that his company uncovered, Muso CEO Andy Chatterley said: “Piracy or unlicensed consumption trends are closely linked to paid-for or licensed content. So, just as Netflix has seen large subscriber gains, we have seen a significant spike in visits to film piracy sites.”
Last week, Digital Music News was first to report that Netflix had secured nearly 16 million new subscribers during the first quarter of 2020 – more than double the 7.2 million users it had anticipated adding.
Generally speaking, music streaming figures have decreased amid the coronavirus pandemic, and video-streaming numbers have increased substantially (including a 100 percent jump in the highly coveted 25-54 demographic).
Without the ability to perform live, and given streaming’s revenue decrease, not a few artists are turning to subscription-based platforms like Patreon and gig-based marketplaces like AirGigs to make cash.