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Music Piracy Remains a Widespread Problem, Particularly in Emerging Countries

By , in IFPI Piracy Research Stream ripping , at December 12, 2023

cassette tape pirate musicThe International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) presents itself as the voice of the global recording industry.

The group represents roughly 8,000 members globally, ranging from smaller independent labels to the largest labels on the planet.

Part of its mandate is to keep an eye on how the music industry evolves. This includes legal consumption as well as unauthorized offerings, more commonly known as music piracy.

Music piracy exists in various forms but in recent years stream-ripping has emerged as the most significant. Several years ago IFPI reported that the phenomenon had become a bigger threat than any other form of music piracy.

According to IFPI’s Engaging with Music 2023 report released this week, online piracy remains a problem worldwide, stream-ripping and illegal music apps in particular.

“Music piracy is still very much an issue, with stream ripping and the use of illegal mobile apps among the leading causes for concern,” IFPI’s Chief Executive Frances Moore says.

“This illegal activity has a severe and direct impact on royalties which should be returning to those investing in and creating music. We will continue to work with governments and the wider music industry to ensure the most secure digital environment possible for music creators and fans alike.”

One in Three Are Music Pirates

The report shares the results of an extensive survey, which polled over 43,000 Internet users worldwide. The overall conclusion is that legal consumption is flourishing, but the survey also found that plenty of people are still using stream-rippers and piracy tools.

In the countries that formed the basis for these reports historically, almost one in ten people (29%) admit to using illegal means to listen to or download music. With 26%, stream-ripping remains dominant, with unlicensed apps not far behind (20%).

ifpi stats

Piracy is most prevalent among the younger demographic (16-24), where 43% of respondents are self-confessed pirates. When asked about their reasons for pirating, more than half of all respondents (55%) said that they do it to avoid paying for licensed music streaming subscriptions.

Piracy rates have stabilized somewhat over the years but the problem persists. That said, it’s not the complete picture. The polled countries for these ‘global’ statistics exclude India, China, Nigeria, and other emerging countries where piracy is rampant.

Piracy is Rampant in Developing Countries

IFPI reports the numbers for these countries separately, making it possible to compare global data over time. If they were included, however, global piracy rates would be much higher.

In India, for example, 74% of respondents admit to using illegal methods to listen to music. In other emerging countries such as China (75%), Indonesia (66%) and Nigeria (76%), we see similarly high piracy rates.

india ifpi

This is an entirely different picture than mostly developed Western countries, which have been part of IFPI’s long-term polling sample. A complete overview of the polled countries in the global dataset is available below.

Finally, it is worth highlighting a somewhat unusual statistic. While piracy is rampant in countries such as China and India, legal consumption is very high in these countries too.

In China, 96% of the respondents say they use licensed audio streaming platforms and in India, 94% do the same. This suggests that music consumers use a combination of legal and illegal sources to fulfill their music demands.

TorrentFreak asked IFPI to explain this combined use of legal and illegal music streaming in these and other countries, but the group didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment. A copy of IFPI’s “Engaging With Music 2023” report is available on the official website.

– The global sample includes respondents from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA.

– Details on consumers from China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and UAE are reported separately.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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