The New Frontier in Music Piracy? Illegal Streaming Sites

Legal streaming services–Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, Deezer and so on–have accomplished a lot when it comes to crushing peer-to-peer music piracy. Why go through all the hassle of searching for and downloading music illegally when you can get just about anything you want for free or close to it? “Offer the public an easy-to-use and reasonably-priced access to music and you will save the music industry!” they said. And they did.

Piracy has been vanquished! Or has it?

If you use a streaming service, you know you have two choices. If you choose to pay–usually $9.99 a month–you have access to something like 35 million virus-free songs both online and off. You keep those songs until you stop paying. Then there’s the “freemium” option, which allows you access to the same 35 million songs but with ads and not all the features of the paid version. Still sounds like a good deal to me. What could possibly go wrong?

How about pirate streaming services? Yep, they exist. From Digital Music News:

Once upon a time, torrent downloading was considered enemy number one by the film, TV, music, and gaming industries.  And before that, it was P2P and web-based downloading.  But torrenting and other forms of downloading are all quickly being replaced by unauthorized streaming sites, according to data released this morning.

In fact, a large majority of traffic for both TV and film piracy is now being hogged by streaming piracy sites instead of torrent-based downloading, with roughly 58 billion visits last year alone according to research group Muso.  “There’s a clear piracy audience trend change away from content ‘ownership’ using P2P/Torrents or web downloads,” the company reported.

Just how large is that?  According to Muso, streaming volume accounts for approximately 74% of all TV and movie piracy online, with traffic to torrent sites dropping sharply.   Muso tracks visits to approximately 14,000 of the largest piracy hubs across 226 countries (yeah, there are a lot of them).  Overall, Muso counted 141 billion visits to piracy sites in 2015.

Read the full article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.