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Music fans are listening to loads of music, but too many of them are heading to YouTube for it, says IFPI report

By | Published on Wednesday 10 October 2018


The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has published one of those music consumption reports that are so popular right now. The global trade group’s latest Music Consumer Insight Report is packed full of fun stats and statements. Let’s have a look at some of them, shall we?

Based on research in eighteen of the world’s leading music markets, the topline conclusion of the report is that “music is integral to our lives”. What a revelation! It found that people who listen to music do so for 2.5 hours a day on average, racking up 17.8 hours a week, with most of that listening taking place in a car. Of those surveyed, 86% use on-demand streaming services of one kind or another to access at least some of that music, with 50% saying that they’d choose streaming if only one kind of music product was available.

Despite this, the study found that 36% of people are still accessing at least some of their music through unlicensed means, with stream ripping the most popular way for cads and bounders to rip off the poor old music business. Stream ripping reached the top of the music industry’s piracy gripe list a couple of years back, although the music community’s value gap shouting has tended to drown out any piracy griping in more recent years.

The report also confirmed that music is an important driver in the use of technology. Of those surveyed, 75% use smartphones to listen to music, while smart speakers are also a growing way to access some tunes. Those devices may be smart, but they’d be pretty dull without music, is the argument of course. And those stats will no doubt be utilised the next time that argument is being employed against some safe harbour dwelling tech giant.

Speaking of safe harbour dwelling tech giants and the aforementioned value gap campaign, YouTube gets a whole page to itself for a big kicking. Yes, even though relationships between the Google video site and some in the label community have started to improve of late following the launch of YouTube’s premium music service.

The official line seems to still be that YouTube sucks. Because, while that 86% stat up there proves on-demand streaming is very popular indeed, a large proportion of it – 47% – obviously happens on YouTube. By which we mean old fashioned YouTube, not any new fangled YouTube premium nonsense.

And, of course, old fashioned YouTube, the IFPI again points out, hands over pretty much fuck all in royalties. Worse still, says the report, 35% of people who don’t pay to stream said that the main reason was because they can get anything they want on YouTube for free. All thanks to that pesky safe harbour.

“This year’s Music Consumer Insight Report tells the story of how recorded music is woven into the lives of fans around the world”, says IFPI boss Frances Moore. “As it becomes increasingly accessible, it continues to be embraced across formats, genres and technologies. Record companies are working with their partners to sustain and develop these rich and diverse ways in which music is being enjoyed, ensuring that it continues on its exciting journey around the world”.

“However”, she continues, setting up a classic if optimistic piracy gripe and value gap moan, “this report also shows the challenges the music community continues to face – both in the form of the evolving threat of digital copyright infringement as well as in the failure to achieve fair compensation from some user-upload services. Policymakers around the globe have been scrutinising these issues and increasingly acting to address them”.

Download the full report here.