To us, ‘mooching’ means strolling slowly without any particular purpose, with your hands in your pockets, and possibly whistling. Who could have a problem with that? But no: research firm MusicWatch has a different definition of ‘mooching’ – it means using someone else’s streaming login not as part of a family plan, and thus getting unauthorised access to a premium subscription.
It’s been talked about more as a problem for video streaming services like Netflix rather than music streaming services, but MusicWatch has some figures that may give the latter a prod. “In the quarter ending July 2019 MusicWatch estimated that 95 million people had used one of the major streaming services,” it explained. “Of these, 68 million were self-paying, 25 million had access through a family plan, 13 million were on a free trial and 11 million were “mooching” or sharing a log-in that was not from an authorised family plan.”
The suggestion, scary all-caps the company’s own: “Among paid subscribers who don’t use a family plan, ONE IN THREE (32 percent) SHARE THEIR LOG-IN with someone else.” And that rises to 44% for millennials (25-44 year-olds in this definition). According to MusicWatch, if they lost access to their mooched account, 30% of these people would start paying for a subscription – a potential $298m of annual spending in the US.