There have been plenty of bad days for the music industry over the last decade, but chalk yesterday down as an extremely good day.

Not only did the IFPI announce a rise in global music sales for 2012, but market research firm NPD Group claimed that the number of US consumers using peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing services fell by 17% in 2012 to 21m people – down on 2005’s peak of 33m.

NPD’s Annual Music Study report claims that nearly half of the consumers who said they’d stopped filesharing or used these services less in 2012 cited the availability of free, legal streaming music services as the key reason.

Meanwhile, 20% said they’d stopped pirating because their preferred service (e.g. LimeWire) had closed. And all this before the introduction this week of the US’ Copyright Alerts System.

There are, it seems, some gaps in the research, at least the parts announced publicly. Grooveshark isn’t a P2P service, so doesn’t show up in those topline NPD figures, but it’s unlicensed for a lot of the music being listened to on it.

In the streaming era, P2P is becoming less relevant, but if a large chunk of people have swapped illegal downloads for unlicensed streaming, that’s still a concern for rightsholders. We wonder how many people thought Grooveshark was legal when answering NPD’s question about why they’d abandoned P2P, too.

Talking of which… IFPI boss Frances Moore made it clear yesterday that there is more work to do in tackling piracy, most obviously by following the money.

In an opinion piece for Billboard, Moore called for “more cooperation from advertisers, search engines and other intermediaries” on tackling pirate sites in 2013.

“These companies are not only helping direct consumer traffic and advertising revenues to illegal sites – they are themselves financially benefitting from piracy.”

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