Yet More Evidence That Offering Good Legal Alternatives Reduces Music Piracy

from the Australia,-please-take-note dept

One of the most frustrating aspects of the copyright industry’s insistence on pushing for harsher measures to reduce the number of illegal downloads is that we know it’s simply unnecessary. As Techdirt has reported, there is mounting evidence that the best way to reduce piracy is to offer good legal alternatives. TorrentFreak has news of another data point supporting this idea:

In 2012 the streaming service [Spotify] entered the Australian market and Spotify’s own research now shows that music piracy via BitTorrent dropped significantly during the following year.

In a keynote speech at the BIGSOUND music conference today, Spotify’s Director of Economics Will Page reveals that the volume of music piracy has decreased 20% between 2012 and 2013. Similarly, the number of people sharing music via BitTorrent in Australia has gone down too.

Two important caveats are needed here. First, that this is research commissioned by Spotify, and therefore it might be regarded as suspect for that reason. However, it is likely that the Australian recording industry is also monitoring this kind of online activity, and so will able to challenge the findings if necessary. Secondly, there is no proof that the fall in music piracy on BitTorrent is down to Spotify’s launch. However, the fact that a similar correlation has been observed in other countries around the world strongly suggests there is a link.

Finally, it’s worth noting that this new research comes at an opportune moment. As Mike has pointed out, Australia is planning to tackle online copyright infringement by implementing what amounts to a Hollywood “wishlist” of measures. Maybe the government there should start paying attention to the evidence of what works and what doesn’t, rather than accepting the copyright maximalist dogma without question.

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Comments on “Yet More Evidence That Offering Good Legal Alternatives Reduces Music Piracy”

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24 Comments
ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Sure

As Mike has pointed out, Australia is planning to tackle online copyright infringement by implementing what amounts to a Hollywood “wishlist” of measures. Maybe the government there should start paying attention to the evidence of what works and what doesn’t, rather than accepting the copyright maximalist dogma without question.

Is Mike going to start paying them to care?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: article maker hasnt seen whats downloadable lately have ya

Or getting grown up and cynical. Top 40 pop will fall off most peoples favourite list at a certain age when they get more picky about what they find to be good music.

When that is said, I know that some of the music I like listening to is considered garbage by most other people so I don’t really see a reason to be judgemental about taste.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: article maker hasnt seen whats downloadable lately have ya

What about when things really are changing for the worse? I’ve been listening to country music for decades, and I’ll tell you this much: you’d have never heard the casual mysogyny of today’s ultra-popular “bro country” sub-genre, nor the abominations of so-called country artists blatantly polluting our ariwaves with rap music, 15 years ago.

To extend the metaphor, I really wouldn’t mind people on my lawn if they wouldn’t keep taking a dump all over it…

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: article maker hasnt seen whats downloadable lately have ya

What about when things really are changing for the worse?

Popular art cannot be measured in “better or worse” terms. It is subjective. Barring the music industry being shady about the numbers, the Top 40 today is really what most of the people listening to today’s music like best. If it isn’t your cup of tea, it is a good thing you were born a few decades earlier and got exposed to the Top 40 you liked more, but you cannot complain that popular art today it worse than it was 30 years ago – it isn’t, it is different and you are now in the minority.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 article maker hasnt seen whats downloadable lately have ya

“Popular art cannot be measured in “better or worse” terms. It is subjective.”

100% correct. I’ve long maintained that there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” art. There is only art that you like and don’t like.

“the Top 40 today is really what most of the people listening to today’s music like best.”

You’ve said “Top 40 today is what most people listening to Top 40 music like best”. It’s a bit circular. But what I think you mean is “top 40 today is what most people who listen to music like best.” I’ll respond to that statement instead. I apologize if I’ve misinterpreted your statement.

The statement is not true. Top 40 does not reflect what most people like. A song rates in the top 40 based on a combination of what most radio stations are playing and sales. Neither of those accurately reflect what people like the best. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most powerful one is that what people tend to buy is what they hear the most. So the Top 40 primarily consists of the songs that major record companies are promoting the most heavily.

This has always been the case.

This isn’t to say that Top 40 songs aren’t good, but to say that they reflect what people “like the best” is simply factually wrong. It reflects what the studios are pushing the most heavily.

That One Guy (profile) says:

However, it is likely that the Australian recording industry is also monitoring this kind of online activity, and so will able to challenge the findings if necessary.

Call me crazy, but between the two, I think I’d trust Spotify’s numbers just a titch more than the numbers provided by any country’s recording industry.

Given how often the recording industry in general lies, distorts, and ‘stretches’ the numbers in their favor, I wouldn’t trust them to tell me how many days there are in a year, and I certainly wouldn’t trust them to give accurate numbers on how well a given service decreases piracy rates once it enters a country/area.

me says:

The problem is

That the copyright industry at least as it pertains to the Music/Movie industries hasnt been utterly destroyed. These useless shitheads have wasted enormous resources chasing down pirates rather than offering up content that isn’t homogenized schlock, the music industry in particular.

Art is art, not a commodity you fucks. Go away and die already.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: The problem is

It depends on how you see it. Part of the art can be produced with the masses in mind and thus I would say it is some sort of commodity. And much like there are types of petrol that are better than others there will be better and worse art. The question is that much like low quality petrol is much cheaper the content industry cannot expect to charge premium prices for low-quality content. I’m okay with a 3-hour cgi-masturbation from Michael Bay (read: Transformers) sometimes but I’m not ok with paying over $15 for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

the Aussie government will do the same as all others, whatever they have been paid to do! and as far as evidence is concerned, if it doesn’t suit the industries will be either ignored or refuted. if, however, the industries put out the results of it’s surveys, everyone has to believe those results without question!!
the industries know full well what is the best road to go down but are more interested in getting as many people kicked off the net as possible, as many families broken apart ass possible and as many people locked up as possible. the really ridiculous thing though is that governments everywhere are ignoring everything, following what the industries say and helping them as much as possible. i dont understand why governments are totally ignoring all the evidence there is and continuously following the industries orders, unless there are advantages to them as a government (tracking people and their movements, conversations etc) and/or advantages (money?) to individual politicians.

Whatever (profile) says:

Poor story

This story is pretty much a press release in a can. Spotify is pointing to a global phenomenon (decreasing downloading of music) and trying to claim responsibility for it. They are PART of situation, but they are not alone:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2013/02/26/study-finds-that-streaming-and-spyware-are-killing-music-piracy/

It’s the double, really – the availability of streaming services helps, but it’s just as much that the pirated sources are getting poorer, less available, and those that are available come with bigger and bigger risks for spyware and other issues.

We won’t even discuss of course that many people have already downloaded an entire lifetime of music, and they generally don’t re-seed to avoid legal risks and bandwidth use. So P2P in general is actually falling off anyway. Spotify is just there literally to scoop up consumers who no longer trust piracy to deliver them the product.

AJ says:

” but it’s just as much that the pirated sources are getting poorer, less available, and those that are available come with bigger and bigger risks for spyware and other issues.”

I somewhat agree with your post except the above part. I think p2p has fractured into secure “dark nets” and private invitation/sometimes pay only sites in the countries that attack p2p the hardest. These sites are very difficult to track. They’ve learned not to interlace the networks. When one gets to big, they fracture, and create even more smaller secure networks. Any one gets hit, it’s not tied to the others directly so it sinks alone. Some of these sites are pay to play style sites so they have the financial ability to both defend themselves, and locate themselves in “friendly” territory. Then you’ve got added layers of security, cheap proxy’s, secure VPN’s to places that don’t track users. These “defenses” are all becoming mainstream.

I think your attitude is exactly what the p2p sharer’s want. The appearance that it’s dissolving, when it’s actually fracturing and growing, and doing both more secure.

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