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Music Piracy Is Rising — And the U.S. Is a Trouble Spot

by Elias Leight, Billboard Pro, 2023-03-09

Stream-ripping is the most prevalent form of music piracy in the States, the world's third largest market for piracy, according to a report from MUSO.

Piracy has been a thorn in the music industry’s side for more than two decades. In recent years, however, the widespread adoption of streaming has led to a steep drop in the types of peer-to-peer and file-sharing behavior that once threatened to bring the music business to its knees.

Growth in streaming revenues shows signs of slowing, meaning that every dollar that leaks out of the music ecosystem is becoming more important to labels. And MUSO’s report shows that piracy, even if it has faded from headlines, isn’t negligible.

The United States accounts for 7% of all piracy traffic picked up by MUSO, third only behind Iran (15.05%) and India (10.29%). Despite the prevalence of streaming among U.S. listeners, their appetite for piracy far outpaces their peers in other major music markets like the United Kingdom (1.86% of piracy traffic) and Germany (1.92%). And more than half of all the piracy in the United States takes place via stream-ripping, which relies on programs to get around YouTube’s copyright protection and convert audio into MP3s

More information on this topic can be found on Billboard's website, where it was initially published.


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