Daddy, what's 'P2P file sharing'?

YouTube rippers elbow aside old favorites

So long peer-to-peers, and farewell dodgy file lockers: young music fans now steal their music straight from YouTube instead.

Research from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the global body for the recording industry, finds that 49 per cent of 16-to-24s use streaming rippers, overtaking unlicensed file downloads. It was conducted across 13 countries across the world this spring. IFPI published the finding in its Music Consumer Insight Report 2016 (PDF) this week.

The news is broadly good: 71 per cent of people use a licensed service, and 82 per cent of 13-to-15s listen to music. (So much for vloggers becoming the New Pop, as some pundits have suggested.) And a third of 16-to-24s pony up for a music service. South Korea, Sweden and perhaps surprisingly, Mexico lead the way with paid streaming.

Coincidentally, or not, Mexico and South Korea use smartphones for music (77 and 75 per cent respectively) far more than the US or the UK (54 and 55 per cent). In addition, many who pay for a streaming service also pay for downloads, which they can keep. If you're launching a new media service, you have to think about mobile first.

"The 13-to-15 age group does not only feel the strongest about music – particularly new music – but also strongly believes that artists should be rewarded for their creativity – and that stealing is wrong," the IFPI notes.

The figure falls to 57 per cent among 16-to-24 millennials. Almost two-thirds of 13-to-15s polled agreed that music piracy is wrong. Amazingly however, 41 per cent of 24-to-34s don't agree that artists should be paid when their music gets played (so good luck ever getting a pint out of these young tightwads).

YouTube is confirmed as the world's jukebox, with 81 per cent using it for music they already know. Ipsos (market research) finds that stream rippers are used by 30 per cent of infringers, compared to 19 per cent who use a download service.

Rippers have been around for years, providing one-click downloading from a YouTube page. But use has grown significantly in the past two years. Google does nothing to inhibit the use of rippers. Cynically, you may ask, why should it? That visit to YouTube has generated a page view. The advertiser, and the artist, might be less happy.

YouTube is a licensed service, but the industry complaint is that it pays buttons. Thanks to the "user-generated content" loophole in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Google can do something Apple, Spotify and others can't – and maintain an unlicensed supply chain. Lucky old Google. ®

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