The debate around whether streaming services like Spotify cannibalise piracy will be fuelled by two new reports, one from the US and one from Sweden.
The first is called The Copy Culture Survey: Enfringement and Enforcement in the US, from the American Assembly at Columbia University, based on a survey of 2,303 American adults by Princeton Survey Research Associates.
It found that 46% of all Americans have pirated music, TV shows and/or films, but that this rises to 70% for 18-29 year-olds. However, the level of piracy is casual: only 2% of Americans have downloaded more than 1,000 tracks of infringing music, while 1% have more than 100 infringing TV shows or movies.
The big stat: “Of the 30% of Americans who have ‘pirated’ digital music files, 46% indicated that they now do so less because of the emergence of low-cost legal streaming services” – this survey was conducted before Spotify launched in the US, by the way.
52% of Americans support penalties for downloading copyrighted music and films – limiting this support to warnings and fines rather than internet disconnections. Meanwhile, 69% oppose monitoring of their internet activity for the purposes of enforcement, and 56% oppose government involvement in blocking access to infringing content.
However, 58% support ISPs being required to block infringing material, although this falls to 46% if the word ‘censorship’ is mentioned. The study was part-funded by a research grant from Google, it should be noted.
The second report comes from the Internet Infrastructure Foundation in Sweden. It’s called Svenskarna och Internet 2011 (that’s a PDF link) and focuses on all forms of internet usage, including music. It’s based on a survey of more than 2,000 people.
The report claims that 86% of 16-25 year-old Swedes are using Spotify, with 55% listening on a daily basis. Its survey also found that 57% of the Swedish population is listening to and downloading music online.
“The percentage of those engaging in file sharing has never been greater, while the percentage of those streaming music using the Spotify music service is even greater,” claims the report’s English summary. “The more you listen and the older you are, the more common it is to pay a membership fee.”
More stats that we’ve harvested from the main Swedish-language report (via Google Translate) include the fact that 37% of internet users overall are using Spotify, compared to 18% who are filesharing, 9% who are buying CDs, and 4% who are buying music downloads.
Meanwhile, two thirds of 26-35 year-old Swedish Spotify users are paying for the service. The report also finds “statistically significant” proof that a larger percentage of illegal filesharers pay for downloads or subscription services than non-fileshares.