Music

Illegal music piracy has halved in the last five years - well done everyone

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Gary Ogden
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Illegal music piracy has halved in the last five years - well done everyone

Spotify and co. are reversing the naughty trend - we’re turning into a nation of honest citizens 

You have ALL done it, haven’t you? You have all broken the actual law and downloaded a song for free, before. All the hard work of the artists, producers, A&R, cover designers, studio technicians, everyone, gone to waste because you’ve stolen their hard work for free. You have paid no money for it, because you are a coward - a craven hiding behind a computer, bank account untouched. You should be ashamed.

Thankfully, that was five years ago - you’re a different person now. You’ve mended your ways and can honestly count yourself an official member of the upstanding citizen parade. That’s because you no longer download music illegally - you’re all about that streaming business nowadays, paying actual, real money to get your music fix.

At least according to YouGov, you are. They carried out a recent survey that found only 10% of Britons illegally download music, compared to 18% in 2013 - that’s a pretty steep drop in only five short years. A quarter of that 10% also reckoned they’d stop within the next five years.

YouGov Associate Director Justin Marshall said: 

“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.”

Streaming is just so easy. Never before has such a gigantic, unending library of music been so simple to access - you can hear almost any song ever written instantly, ripping the hassle of downloading out from under its unlawful paws. 

And besides, what do you actually do with mp3s nowadays? Where do you listen to them? What’s the point in having one? If you’ve got Spotify, or Apple Music, or any of the streaming services on your phone, you can listen to whatever you want. There is no need for a downloaded mp3 - they are to be consigned to the scrapheap along with CDs, cassettes and what were those other things? Minimal discs? Mini Milks? Discworlds? Can’t remember, but they’re there as well.

This is a great direction to be heading - music piracy was at one time, a real hit to the industry. And although streaming doesn’t completely solve this - musicians don’t make nearly as much money as they used to off physical sales - at least the artists will be scraping back a bit of money for their endeavours. 

Marshall says:

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

All we need now is for the movie industry to catch up - film piracy is still rife, and although the filmic equivalents to Spotify et al (Netflix and friends) are going some way to combating this, there’s still a big problem that needs to be tackled. Like really hard - you know, a big old rugby tackle that breaks a clavicle or something.

Either way - well done everyone. Big pat on the back. You are now an honest, law-abiding person. Well, almost - you’re not fooling anyone with those fake Gucci trainers, mate.

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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