Are people still pirating music?

| Apr 24, 2020 | Intellectual Property Litigation

Remember the commercials about pirating music and movies? Remember when Napster got shut down? For many, pirating music seems like something that happened in the early 2000s, which many people did on dial-up internet and used services like LimeWire. This was long before you could easily just download music onto your phone. But are people still doing it?

They are. Phones and easy internet access have changed things. So have services like Spotify, which give people free access to most music, as long as they’re willing to endure the ads. But recent studies find that just over a third of people (38%) admit to pirating music.

When asked about it in an interview, one expert chalked it up to two main reasons. “People still like free stuff,” he said. He also pointed out that pirating music is not complicated, so most people who want to do it can figure it out.

Now, this isn’t quite the same, but the study also found that people will look for free ways to stream music. Fifty-two percent use YouTube or other video sites. They can just pull up an album and play the video — often just a still photo over the music. They don’t possess the files, and they can’t listen to them without internet access, but the widespread availability of unlimited data on a smartphone means that using YouTube videos is essentially the same as downloading the files.

The music industry has changed over the years, and it has been hit very hard by the internet. When music gets stolen, just as with any other artwork, creators need to understand their legal options.