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Only 9% (and falling) of US Internet users are P2P pirates


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In its 2010 annual report (PDF), recorded music's global trade body said that the industry would "struggle to survive unless we address the fundamental problem of piracy." Just how "fundamental" a problem is that piracy? Not very, as new research suggests that only 9 percent of US Internet users even use peer-to-peer networks at all, down substantially from 2007.

Market research firm NPD Group, which tracks music acquisition, said today that P2P use has dropped from 16 percent of all US Internet users to 9 percent over the last three years. The latest data comes from the fourth quarter of 2010, when a federal judge shut down LimeWire; that may have depressed the numbers a bit, though NPD notes that other P2P programs saw more usage as a result.

As for the average number of downloads per person, that also fell from 35 per quarter in 2007 to 18 per quarter by the end of 2010. Those averages obscure people who swap thousands of files, of course, but they also suggest that many P2P users only pick up a few tracks.

The data fits roughly with similar data collected by Warner Music and shown to the FCC in early 2010. Warner suggested that 13 percent of consumers were avowed pirates, but noted that even the pirates spent (some) money on recorded music.

The NPD numbers are not a complete view of the piracy problem. The company surveys only P2P use and so would not include one-click download sites and illegal online streaming services that have become more important for the movie business, in particular.

Still, the NPD data suggests that, in the US at least, piracy isn't the "fundamental" problem it's perceived to be. (Even Warner admits that pirates "tend to drive high discovery for others" and to spend some of their own money on music.) In developing economies, where piracy rates can reach north of 90 percent for music, movies, and software, it's a much more fundamental issue for content companies.

How should they address it? A major three-year academic research project has just concluded that piracy in developing economies is a "global pricing problem" that enforcement alone cannot fix.

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I cannot believe this. Only 9%? Something must be wrong in their calculation method.

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9%? Yeah, right. Next thing you know Lite is not a BOT and shought is not a PedoBear 2lbz2xg.png

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9%? Yeah, right. Next thing you know Lite is not a BOT and shought is not a PedoBear 2lbz2xg.png

we'll have to wait till 21.12.2012 to find that out :uhoh:

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lime.jpg

There is no arguing that the file-sharing landscape changed for good when the RIAA managed to shut LimeWire down October last year. From one day to another, the most widely known file-sharing application ceased to exist.

At the time we doubted that LimeWire’s demise would have much of an impact on the volume of music piracy, but according to research from the NPD Group we were wrong.

Although there are plenty of alternatives to LimeWire, NPD found that the number of people who downloaded music illicitly using P2P in the last quarter of 2010 has decreased by 43% compared to the year before. The researchers conclude that much of the decline is due to the unavailability of LimeWire, which ceased its operations just a few weeks into quarter 4 of last year.

This data comes from an extensive survey of 5,549 Americans, and translated into the entire population it means that the number of music pirates has decreased from 28 million to 16 million in just a year.

Looking at the market share of the various P2P applications, LimeWire was still in the lead with 32 percent of the music pirates indicating that they’d used it in the few weeks that it was still available. This is down from 56 percent in the year before.

As expected, LimeWire’s shutdown also resulted in a market share up-tick for various other P2P applications. FrostWire appears to be the greatest beneficiary, as it saw a relative increase from 10 percent to 21 percent.

The most popular BitTorrent client uTorrent saw its market share growing from 8 to 12 percent. However, since the total number of music pirates declined so much this actually means that in absolute numbers less people indicated that they used uTorrent to pirate music compared to a year ago.

Taken together NPD’s research suggests that the percentage of music pirates in the U.S. population has fallen drastically, from 16 percent to 9 percent in a year. But the big question is what effect this has had on music industry revenues. Although we don’t necessarily have much faith in the validity of the survey, the RIAA must be delighted with the findings – or are they?

We assume that when they look at their revenues during the last quarter of 2010, the big music labels will fail to see any significant change in their revenues. Why? Well, because music piracy might not have much of an effect on music sales in the first place. But I guess if they can’t use it to their benefit, the RIAA will simply ignore what might be the biggest piracy decline in history.

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