In Brief

Music piracy in UK halves in five years

Streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal have reversed illegal downloading trend

Music piracy has almost halved in the UK over the past five years, as legitimate streaming services make it easier and cheaper to listen to music without breaking the law.

A survey by YouGov found that just 10% of Britons illegally download music today, down from 18% in 2013. A quarter of these said they expected to stop within the next five years.

YouGov Associate Director Justin Marshall said: “While illegal downloads still present a significant challenge to the music industry, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Our research reveals a change in behaviour, with those that previously attained music by unlawful means now being enticed by the low costs and ease of use associated with streaming.”

Many said the fact that streaming was now easier than pirating and that services like Spotify had a comprehensive library had made illegal downloads a less attractive proposition.

“Simply put, many don’t feel they need to go to the same lengths to acquire the music they want, now they have it at their fingertips,” Marshall says. “Whether or not streaming is what finally banishes illegal downloads remains to be seen, but there are encouraging signs.”

However, the survey found that more than half (51%) of respondents were frustrated when artists released music onto just one streaming platform and 44% said they would resort to pirating music if it was not available anywhere else.

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