Efforts continue to make stream-ripping – converting streams from YouTube and other services into permanent downloads – the bogey-man of online music piracy.
This week it’s anti-piracy firm Muso spooking the horses with data claiming that stream-ripping sites attracted 7.2bn visits in the first nine months of 2016 – up 60% year-on-year. The company added that around 60% of that traffic is going to audio-only sites (i.e. for music, as opposed to TV shows or films).
“Our market analytics online piracy data shows rapid growth to ripper sites in 2016 – and shines a light on the real scale of the issue,” Muso’s Simon Horton told MBW.
The data certainly plays in to the fears of the industry, with the IFPI recently publishing research claiming that almost half of 16-24 year-olds use stream-ripping software, and a high-profile lawsuit in September against one site, YouTube-MP3, which is thought to attract 60 million monthly unique visitors.
At the same time, the characterisation of stream-ripping as a new piracy apocalypse for the industry – while it fuels the business models of anti-piracy companies and the anti-Google sentiment of rightsholders alike – may be an overreaction given the simultaneous growth of paid music subscriptions.
It’s true that teenage stream-ripping has implications for the industry’s future growth, but a measured rather than hysterical response would be wise.
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