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Music Piracy: Not a Big Deal?

Just released statistics from research group NPD show that less than 10% of Americans get their music from peer-to-peer downloading. This number is down from 16% in 2007, according to their Music Acquisition Monitor survey. This number seems relatively small considering the proliferation of fear in the music production industry, and the money spent on anti-piracy campaigns.

A reason for this drop is the court-ordered shutdown of LimeWire last October. According to NPD, in 2010, 56% of Americans using P2P music services used LimeWire, however this dropped to 32% in the months before they shut down. After the end of LimeWire, other P2P music services, such as FrostWire and BitTorrent, saw an expected jump in usage. NPD estimates some 28 million Americans were using P2P services in 2007, which dropped to 16 million in 2010. Also declining is the number of downloads per person, going from 35 files every 3 months, down to 18 files.

Most P2P file-sharing is illegal, however this doesn’t explain the decline. It’s not like the people doing it in 2007 did not know it was illegal, and quit when they found out. One explanation might be music streaming apps, such as those by Last.fm and Pandora, which allow you to listen to music you don’t actually own anywhere. Another mobile explanation could be the ever-popular iTunes store, in case you want to spend money on music on the go.

What do you think? Are you one of the 10%? (If so, I won’t tell anyone, honestly.)

Photo credit Andy Wilson
Photo credit Stefan Van der Straeten