Stream ripping – copying audio or video streams from services such as YouTube and Spotify – is the most popular and fastest-growing form of music piracy, accounting for nearly 70% of music-specific infringement in the UK, according to research from PRS for Music and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Stream ripping spiked 140% between 2014 and 2016, easily outdoing all other kinds of illegal music practices.
YouTube is the most popular source of content for these stream-ripping sites and is used by 75 of the 80 offerings services analysed. SoundCloud, Spotify and Deezer are among the other platforms most targeted.
Stream-rippers surveyed said they engaged in the activity activity because they wanted to listen to music offline (26%), or on the move (25%). They cited the unaffordability of licensed music, with 20% feeling that official music content is overpriced.
Those using stream-ripping services were significantly more likely to be male, ABC1 social grade, and between the ages of 16 and 34 years.
“The advent of stream-ripping and the dominance of the 16-34 age group with high levels of digital literacy and an ability and willingness to find alternative ways to access free music, suggests there are problems convincing not just the post-Napster, but also the post-YouTube generation, of the value of music,” says Dennis Collopy, senior lecturer music industry, University of Hertfordshire School of Creative Arts.
Image: PRS for Music