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Converting Pirates

Hosne Mobarak
Converting Pirates

Necessity knows no law – a maxim music lovers may rely on to justify their compulsion of downloading music illegally. Its an irony that the absence of alternative platforms to access online music, to some extent, has been the predominant reason behind the eruption of illegal music downloading, otherwise known as music piracy. Piracy equals to stealing which is a criminal offence. However, music lovers who are helplessly into downloading music illegally can now come out of their guilt. They are now inclined to enjoy music legitimately and without any cost or for free. Nearly 50% of the people who were heavily into illegal music downloading have stopped doing so – thanks to Spotify. And this make sense. If you have legitimate alternative to access online music, why would you bother downloading music illegally and taking the blame of being a pirator?

Spotify is a streaming service which was developed in Stockholm, Sweden and was made open for public to access on October 07, 2007. It is a program run by software which streams music from the web. Users can choose from three different versions of Spotify services available, namely open, ultimate and premium. Ultimate and Premium versions are paid services while the Open version is completely free. 

Study finds that streaming is curbing music piracy, and its not due to stepped-up enforcement, but the availability of free music via streaming services like Spotify. According to a 2009 report, the number of people who pirated music has dropped by 25% in Sweden. Consequently, in 2012 the Swedish music industry observed 20% growth.   

However, the main reasons for people to choose legal alternatives like Spotify are the availability of wider range of music, millions of tracks for either free or in exchange of a nominal monthly fee which ultimately gives Spotify the competitive advantage over websites that sell pirated music. The ‘Annual Music Study 2012’, released by NPD Group (a research organization) shows a 26% decline in illegal music downloading in 2012 compared to 2011, and a 40% people surveyed in the study voiced that they had illegally downloaded in 2011 which they did not do in 2012. 

A Norwegian News Report stated that, in 2008 almost 1.2 billion songs were copied without permission in Norway which has downsized to 210 million in 2012 – a remarkably 82.5% reduction in four years time. Another report titled “Adventure in Netherlands”, published by Spotify, claims that piracy in the Netherlands has gone down just as Spotify has become more popular in Netherlands. Netherlands embraced Spotify in 2010 and the country has experienced steep downfall in piracy. 

Spotify is currently available only in very few countries across the world, but with alternative legal platforms like Spotify, piracy will continue to decline, not only for music but also in the case for movies, TV shows and other similar contents. 

September 15, 2015
About Author

The author is an associate at Old Bailey Chambers.

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