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Music industry battles to see off ‘stream ripping’ piracy trend


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 13, 2016 | 2 min read

The music industry, no stranger to piracy, is facing up to its latest challenge as increasing numbers of people who stream music online turn to ‘stream ripping’ software to illegally copy tunes.

Surveys show that close to half of 16 to 24 year olds illegally download songs in this way, undermining recent successes by artists and record labels in reclaiming lost revenues by earning a share of subscription revenues.

Studies conducted by the IFPI into the phenomenon suggest stream ripping is now a greater source of piracy than illicit downloads from file sharing sites. Separate findings indicate that YouTube has now established itself as the world’s largest music platform with 82 per cent of the site’s 1.3bn users logging in to listen to music.

David Price, director of insight and analysis at the IFPI wrote: “YouTube consistently plays down its significance as a music service, arguing among other things that the service is primarily promotional.

“The Ipsos research shows this is not true … the data from the survey demonstrates clearly that YouTube is a major destination for on-demand music and makes it difficult to accept any argument that the site should operate outside the normal music licensing environment.”

Subscription services such as Spotify and Apple Music paid a cumulative $2bn to record labels in 2015 generated from just 68m paying users whilst the broader ‘user upload service’category, dominated by YouTube, contributed just $634m.

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