Music piracy has been regarded as a prosecutable crime in many countries from the late 20th century, though its definition has changed over the years. Music piracy can be defined as reproducing, distributing or copying and distributing the original pieces of music for which neither the composer, the recording artist or the copyright holding company did not give consent. In the modern world, music piracy is taking a new shape, where people are using file-sharing networks on the internet to upload and download free music copies.
According to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), people between the ages of 16 to 25 make up a large number of the music-related ripping site visitors. This has been attributed to the growth of the internet and the increased number of these music ripping sites. It has also been noted that lack of security in music sharing sites like YouTube has led to increased use of sites that convert video to audios and promote stream-ripping.
According to MUSO, a leading piracy and content protecting audience data professionals, this practice has been growing quickly and massively especially in the year 2016. According to MUSO, from January to the third quarter of this year, 2016, there were an enormous 7.2 billion visits to sites that are regarded as copyright-infringing stream-ripping sites worldwide. Compared to last year, the number has grown by 60% from 4.5 billion. There is an estimation that around 60% of these illegal stream ripping activities are going to audio-only sites, led by the infamous YouTube-mp3.org.
The music recording industry has not taken this lightly as all the 3 major labels sued the owner of the world’s most visited stream-ripping site, YouTube-mp3.org. The joint lawsuit emphasized on the scale of stream ripping, its impact and the loss of revenues for the music industry. The lawsuit further talked about the copies of music, in tens of millions, or even hundreds that they believed are copied and illegally distributed by stream ripping services each month.
YouTube-mp3.org has a unique user base of around 60 million monthly and is projected to be responsible for the growth up to 40% of stream ripping of music from YouTube. According to MUSO’s senior developer, Simon Horton, there is a rapid growth of stream ripping sites in 2016 as projected on the company’s new research.
MUSO’s annual global piracy report shows that stream ripping piracy was number three among the most popular piracy in the world in 2015. The first position was held by illegal streaming while torrent sites came in second. It’s estimated that ripping platforms made up a whopping 17.7% of visits in relation to music from piracy sites from all corners of the globe in 2015. There were 6.2 billion music-related stream ripping visits across the globe in 2015. It’s interesting to notice that search engines, including Google, were responsible for about 49.8% of all music-related traffic that reached these ripping platforms.
If this vice is not stopped, the music industry’s future may dwindle in sales in music streaming and maybe eventually collapse. It should be noted that in the current modern world, most musicians make money from music streaming and performances. If streaming doesn’t pay off, then money from performances might not be enough for the effort put into their music.
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