Music Industry

What Artists Have the Most Illegal Downloads These Days? Glad You Asked…

I don’t understand why people go through the trouble of stealing music anymore. Rather than contend with incomplete files, poor metadata, missing artwork and all the other crap that’s out there–not to mention all the time and effort required to locate, seed and organize–why not just sign up for a streaming music service? Even the free versions give you access to about 35 million (and counting) songs with a couple of clicks or pokes?

Still, the theft continues. It’s declining–streaming has put a big dent into the number of songs being stolen–but it’s still an issue. This leads to question “What’s being stolen?” Rap and hip hop, mainly. Lots of it. Hypebot reports on which Billboard artists are seeing the most illegal downloads.  Let’s start with this pie chart of theft by genre.

Stolen track - billboard-chart-pie

People are stealing Christian music? Yep. And hang on: more people rip off folk artists than they do rock? And if I’m Drake, I’m really, really pissed.


There are many more interesting graphics and graphs at Hypebot. You really should check them out.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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