Business News Digital

UK consumers giving up on illegal downloading

By | Published on Thursday 2 August 2018

Digital Music

UK consumers are turning their backs on illegal downloading thanks to streaming, according to new YouGov research.

Just 10% of the 4009 people surveyed said that they download music illegally, compared to 18% five years ago. Meanwhile, 22% of those still doing the illegal downloading thing said that they didn’t expect to be still doing it in another five years.

Of the illegal downloaders, most said that they only downloaded music illegally out of frustration. In particular, when releases were only made available on one streaming platform under an exclusivity deal, or if the music they wanted was not available on any legitimate services.

The research notes that 63% of those who have stopped illegally downloading music are now using streaming services instead, one saying that it is “now easier to stream music than to pirate it. And the cost is not prohibitive”. Just over a third also complained that it has become more difficult to access illegal services.

YouGov Associate Director Justin Marshall says: “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”.

“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”, he continues. “Whether or not streaming is what finally banishes illegal downloads remains to be seen, but there are encouraging signs”.

What is not entirely clear is whether all the former illegal downloaders have moved over to licensed streaming platforms. Or if any are using the illegal streaming set-ups that have seen a significant uplift in users in recent years, according to anti-piracy experts like MUSO.

Of the former illegal downloaders, YouGov says that the top three services now being used are Spotify with 48%, Apple Music with 7% and Amazon Prime Music also with 7%.