Music Streaming

We got a few questions about our earlier post on music piracy. More specifically, many were wondering why it is that streaming services seem to be an effective solution.

Country specific music selection on SpotifyPlatforms like Spotify have become quite popular over the past few years. According to November 2016 stats, Spotify has nearly 100 million users and 40 million paid subscribers. There’s a catalog of over 30 million songs to choose from, and Spotify has paid out nearly five billion dollars to labels and artists for music rights.

All of this sounds impressive, but there’s another aspect of music streaming that doesn’t get spoken about frequently. This aspect is the effect that streaming has had on piracy. Research suggests that streaming services have led to a significant reduction in illegal music downloads and here are the main reasons why.

Easy Access to Music

This one is a no-brainer. When people have easy access to music, they’re much less likely to turn to torrents and other illegal download options.

The European Commission confirms the effectiveness of streaming when it comes to reducing illegal downloads.

According to a Commission report, every 47 Spotify streams have come to replace one illegal download. The authors conclude that Spotify and other streaming services have started displacing music piracy due to the ease of access that they ensure.

As already mentioned in the introduction, artists are making money from every live stream because Spotify has to acquire the rights. While the sum is lower than what artists would make in the case of CD or iTunes sales, streaming services are making money from people who previously didn’t contribute to any expenditure in terms of buying legal music.

Free for the Audience

Different music streaming plansSpotify lures people with yet another feature. On top of the simplicity and the access to the vast music catalog, it offers a free of charge service.

Depending on individual preferences, people who use the service can opt either for a paid or a free profile.

The free profile comes with a couple of downsides. Ads are included and played between the tracks. Offline music listening isn’t available either. Still, listeners can access their favorite music without spending a single cent and without having to look for torrents featuring their favorite artists. The fact that the quality of the service is sufficiently high and that it’s free of charge is yet another reason why streaming is starting to turn the tables.

A Service That’s Better than Piracy

There are many theories about what it would take to get rid of piracy forever. While the suggestions vary significantly from one expert to another, most authorities in the field agree on the same thing. They believe that restrictions and fines aren’t going to get the job done.

Torrent services like Pirate Bay have been shut down multiple times. Such measures have solely offered a temporary relief from their impact. Sooner or later, torrent sites resurface.

This is one of the reasons why the general consensus focuses on the provision of a better service. If people can access music, films, and other files effortlessly, they’ll be much less likely to engage in illegal downloads.

How to use a VPN to bypass geo-blockingOne caveat is that not all streaming services may be available in every country. In those situations consumers have three options. They can either opt for a different service, wait until their country is offered or use a VPN provider to access the geo-blocked content. The legality of the latter is a little questionable. If that’s a road your would like to explore, you can read about it on Fastest VPN Guide’s Tumblr and make a decision for yourself.

The above is also true for just about any other type of online streaming service, not just music. Every Netflix uses has, at one point or another, used a VPN to access the library from another country. How content is geo-blocked often seems arbitrary, and VPNs are an easy solution.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that the main aim of the company was to offer a high-quality service. Once the goal was accomplished, it was much easier to convince people that illegal music downloads were simply not worth it.

The quality of the service is indeed high. Spotify members get access to crisp audio, playlists and millions of artists to choose from. The music library is so rich that it evens features local and indie performers. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. When people get such an offer, they’re less likely to look for an illegal alternative.

While music streaming services are having an impact on the music industry and reshaping the way in which musicians make money, they’re also curbing piracy effectively. Whether this positive trend is to continue is yet to be seen. One thing is certain – torrents have a massive competitor who’s here to stay and potentially grow bigger in the future.

Music Streaming

We came across something interesting related to music piracy. A recent report from Norway has shown that music piracy in that country has fully collapsed. For the most part, residents now enjoy music legally by making heavy use of streaming services.

A survey done earlier this year by the music industry asked Norwegian consumers under 30 how they obtain their music. More specifically, it also inquired if they do so via illegal downloads. The study indicated the number of people that obtain illegal content has dropped considerably.

Music piracy is dying in NorwayThis survey was last done five years ago. Over that period, the percentage of people that have openly admitted to illegally downloading music has dropped from 80% to a staggering 4%. Even more surprising was the fact that less than 1% of survey respondents said pirated content was their primary source of music.

To put it another way and re-iterate this unbelievable result, in the past five, Norway has all but eradicated unlawful music file-sharing.

To many, these numbers are apparently not surprising. For many years, Norway has been hard at work to reduce the number of its citizens that engage in online piracy. As early as 2013, a significant downward trend was already beginning to take shape.

So how is Norway able to accomplish something that many other countries struggle with? The answer is quite simple. Instead of buying music, the vast majority of Norwegians use streaming services.

Digital music has always been dominant in Norway, and these days, that is not unusual. It is, however, the popularity of streaming that appears to have had the biggest effect on reducing piracy.

Streaming is popular in NorwayIn Norway, between the years of 2012 and 2013, revenue from streaming services has increased by close to 60%. Streaming also accounts for 65% of that country’s music market. That is a significant difference when compared to the rest of the world where streaming services are responsible for only 27% of digital music income.

It all boils down to accessibility and user-friendliness. Services like Spotify and Tidal have become much easier to use than most illegal platforms.

Music piracy in Norway is now so infrequent that authorities hardly have to do anything about it. When compared to markets like the UK or the US, the crackdown on illegal file sharing is almost non-existent. Norway’s internet service providers do not feel the need to block any piracy sites, and not a single person has bee prosecuted in the country for illegally downloaded music. We certainly hope this continues and ultimately spreads worldwide.