February 27th, 2013, 19:31 PM
Music piracy is down: A lesson for Hollywood
Steve Jobs is often credited for offering a revolutionary way to curb music piracy. It wasnít to drag music fans into court, saddling them with crippling debt and legal fees. It wasnít about convincing ISPs to institute a copyright alert system to hassle users. No, the Apple co-founder had a much simpler solution: Jobs believed you could convince people to obtain legitimate music tracks by competing with piracy and offering a better user experience.
Nearly ten years after the iTunes Stores debuted, people are still turning away from piracy to buy music from vendors such as Amazon and Apple. And the trend of obtaining officially sanctioned music from legitimate sources is only increasing, according to the NPD Groupís annual survey of music consumer behavior.
Music piracy over peer-to-peer networks declined by 17 percent in 2012 compared to the year previous, based on NPDís online survey of more than 5,000 U.S. Internet users between December and January. That decline translates into about 12 million fewer American audio pirates between 2011 and 2012. And the number one reason NPD cited for the precipitous drop in music piracy was free, ad-supported streaming services such as Pandora, Slacker, and Spotify.
Free streaming isnít just taking a bite out of P2P piracy either. Other forms of music sharing are also on the decline, such as borrowing and ripping a friendís CD, trading music files through good olí sneakernet, and sharing via online storage services. The decline makes sense. Why bother going through the hassle of ripping a CD yourself or importing files from a USB thumb drive when the same music is only one click away on Spotify or Amazonís new AutoRip service?