It might be a bit early to call it mutiny on the music piracy bounty yet, but new figures suggest that illegal downloads have taken a significant dip in the last year.
Music streaming service Spotify have just released research findings that suggest the proliferation and access to music streaming services has been reducing the rate of music piracy in Australia.
Presenting the research at music industry conference BIGSOUND today, Spotify’s Director of Economics, Will Page revealed that as legal music streaming gathers momentum in Australia there has been a 20% decline in music piracy over a one year period.
Working with analytics company MusicMetric, Spotify completed an extensive a study of piracy on Bit Torrent across music, television and film in Australia, with results showing that music piracy is trending down, both in terms of volume and population, and that demand for both TV and Film on Bit Torrent is now four times that of music.
“It’s exciting to see that we are making inroads into reducing the music piracy problem within such a short space of time in this market,” said Page. “It shows the scope for superior legal services (offered at an accessible price point) to help improve the climate for copyright online.”
“Let’s be clear, Australia still faces a massive challenge in turning around its much talked about media piracy challenge, and it always has, and always will, take a combination of public policy and superior legal offerings.” adds Page.
Since its 2012 Australian launch, Spotify has grown quickly, becoming the leading music subscription service in market, and has driven the majority of music streaming revenue growth reported by IFPI between the years 2012 and 2013.
The latest research echoes a similar study completed last year in the UK, showing the number of pirated music tracks has fallen by a third.
According to a survey by UK government regulator Ofcom, the volume of illegally downloaded songs dropped to 199 million in March 2013, a drop from high of 301 million from March in 2012
Additionally those who were still breaching copyright and pirating surveyed in the report noted they’d be encouraged to stem or stop their activities by cheaper legal alternatives if what they were pirating was available legally.
Spotify has come under a lot of scrutiny from musicians and industry alike after Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich of Atoms For Peace/Radiohead fame publicly pulled their music from the music streaming service in protest, proclaiming that Spotify was “bad for new music” with a royalties model that pays artists “fuck all.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek took to his Twitter account following the public criticism to proclaim Spotify and its streaming peers “is now a very big revenue source” for artists and industry, while emphasising that its free streaming model showed no real signs of cannibalising traditional revenues like physical sales and paid digital downloads.
Ek pointed to recent successes like Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, “and others” (likely Justin Timberlake and Mumford & Sons) which all “did great while pre streaming their music.”