Music piracy on increase worldwide: industry group

Music piracy is on the increase and internet search engines are making it easier, the International Federation of the Phonograph
Music piracy is on the increase and internet search engines are making it easier, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said.

Music piracy is on the increase worldwide, with 40 percent of users are accessing unlicensed music, up from 35 percent last year, the global recorded music industry group IFPI said.

Internet search engines are making piracy easier, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said in a report on Tuesday, calling for government action.

The increase in piracy follows a slump in recent years when policing of the digital landscape appeared to be clamping down on the practice.

"Copyright infringement is still growing and evolving, with stream ripping the dominant method," said IPPI chief, Frances Moore.

"With the wealth of licensed music available to fans, these types of illegal sites have no justifiable place in the music world," she said, calling for greater regulation of the digital music sector.

Based on a survey of consumers in 13 countries, the report found that most unlicensed music listeners were using "stream ripping" to access pirate content.

Thirty-five percent of all Internet users were using stream ripping—up from 30 percent in 2016.

Stream ripping sites allow users to turn a file being played on a streaming platform, such as Spotify or YouTube, into one that can be downloaded permanently.

The percentage of stream rippers rose to 53 percent among 16-24-year-olds, while only 18 percent of 55-64-year-olds engaged in stream ripping.

The report said search engines "play a key role in copyright infringements", with 54 of those downloading unlicensed music using Google to find it., the world's most popular stream ripping site in which millions of users converted YouTube videos into audio files, was shut down earlier this month after a legal campaign by IFPI.

The music industry—which has enjoyed a revival in profits after years of stagnation—has been increasingly aggressive in tackling piracy. In 2015, it succeeded in shutting the popular site Grooveshark.

IFPI also said that upload platform YouTube accounts for 46 percent of all the time spent listening to on-demand music but that this dominance was failing to create "fair value" for the music business.

It said the estimated annual revenue for the industry per user from Spotify was around $20 (17 euros), compared to less than $1 per user for YouTube.

The report also revealed the continuing rise in audio streaming.

It found that 45 percent of respondents were now listening to music through a licensed audio streaming service—up from 37 percent in 2016.

It also revealed that 90 percent of paid audio streamers were listening to music using a smartphone.

Among 13-to-15-year-olds, 85 percent were using streaming services, according to the survey.

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© 2017 AFP

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User comments

Sep 19, 2017
I couldn't care less that corrupt music distributors are losing money.

Sep 19, 2017
Copyright enforcement is immoral.

Copyright is not a natural right, but a granted monopoly - it's legal fiction.

The purpose of said monopoly is to enable the rightholder to seek compensation from multiple people, multiple times, in an unlimited non-negotiable manner, over the same benefit of the creation of value in a work of art. Therefore, whether or not the rightholder actually manages to extract a reasonable compensation, the fundamental means by which they attempt to do so is harmful: it is rent-seeking.

rent-seeking involves seeking to increase one's share of existing wealth without creating new wealth. Rent-seeking results in reduced economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced actual wealth-creation, lost government revenue, increased income inequality,[1] and (potentially) national decline.

Work done once should be paid once. Copyright should be abolished.

Sep 19, 2017
An alternative to copyright exists, where authors and artists sell their work to the public prior to publication such that the asking price over the work is fixed and known to everybody interested in advance.

Once paid, the work is released into the public domain and obtaining a copy will cost no more than the physical act of copying it - as the task of the author is to create works, and the task of copying can be done by anybody with the means and should not be artifically limited.

Modern crowdfunding techniques applied, the cost is spread over the multitude who want it, and the rest won't have to pay - as they gain nothing from getting for free something which they didn't desire.

This avoids the problem of the copyrights industry which exists merely to buy or take copyrights from authors and then collect rent for the works without itself creating any value in return for the money. Authors can be reasonably compensated without paying a whole industry of middle-men.

Sep 19, 2017
A big problem especially in the music industry is that the industry itself - a handful of big labels - have bought all the media outlets and publishing channels for themselves, so they control what content is available to the public at large.

The copyright system stops most off-label music from getting through, because even if the music was free it still costs money to check it up and pay all the relevant fees, since you can't always be sure someone won't sue you over it. It's safer, cheaper and easier to play only listed artists by the labels, and often the labels pay you money or waive their fees for it.

The public can only buy what they know exists, so the music industry can choose which artists sell, and to maximize their profits they hire professional songwriters and composers who create generic and mediocre music for the lowest common denominator, performed through cheap throw-away artists and bands to each target demographic.

So you pay more, for shit.

Sep 19, 2017
Yet another problem is copyright royalties.

If an advertiser wants to use a popular piece of music in an advert, they must pay money to the rights owner (the label). The advertiser then compensates the money they paid by increasing product prices, which means I have to pay Sony BMG or some other corporation that I don't want to support, because I have to buy food from the grocery store so I don't starve.

You think you're watching movies for free on commercial television? Nope, you're paying, and you're still paying even if you turn the TV off.

The copyright industry in the US at the moment is actually bigger as measured in GDP than the entire agricultural sector - yet it produces nothing of tangible value: 90% of the money it gains it spends on itself in the first place, and whatever percolates through to the actual authors and artists is completely besides the point of me having to pay them in order to get food on my table.

The whole thing is a massive scam.

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