Streaming Rises, Music Piracy Falls

A new study reveals a drop in illegal file sharing in the UK while music streaming services such as Pandora, YouTube, and Groove Shark are on the rise. Music Ally teamed with sister consumer research company The Leading Question and determined that a third of music-loving teenagers in the U.K. have changed from illegal downloads to preferring legitimate streaming sites. Music lovers also seem to be purchasing more music from iTunes and other music retailers rather than obtaining them from file-sharing sites.

According to the study, the number of users who regularly shared files had dropped by a quarter between December 2007 and January 2009. This trend was particularly evident among 14 to 18 year-olds: In December 2007, 42% were sharing files at least once per month; by January 2009, only 26% were sharing files.

The report also seems to indicate that streaming could be replacing file sharing: "The move to streaming - e.g. YouTube, MySpace and Spotify - is clear with the research showing that many teens (65%) are streaming music regularly (i.e. each month). Nearly twice as many 14-18s (31%) listen to streamed music on their computer every day compared to music fans overall (18%). More fans are regularly sharing burned CDs and bluetoothing tracks to each other than file-sharing tracks.”

Although it’s unlike free music streaming sites will completely eliminate the desire to swap music using peer-to-peer networks, the news should be good news for music executives and record companies who have fought against peer-to-peer networks. The increased appeal of streaming services is also good news for the music streaming sites who recently reached an agreement with SoundExchange over royalty payments for playing music online.