Reports Music

Fighting Free With Free How YouTube Usurped BitTorrent

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View

Ever since Napster raised its head in 1999 the music industry has been fighting a rear guard action against free.  BitTorrent picked up Napster’s baton and ran with it, begetting music industry’s cartoon villain The Pirate Bay.  Now though free has both changed and achieved far greater scale through licensed streaming services.  Peer-to-peer file sharing            remains a part of the equation but is very much the poor relation and pales in comparison to YouTube’s reach.  An entire generation of music fans has been weaned on free and the music industry finds itself at a decision point in which the future role of free must be reassessed.

Key Findings

  • At                       piracy            still a significant part of            free music landscape but it            no longer the force it            was
  • Mobile is            new face of music piracy.            rippers are used by            of            and free music downloader apps                      
  • Mexico and            have the highest rates of             Sweden and Germany have the            rates
  • Mobile piracy            more pervasive than            ever was            is more dangerous because it            the veneer of legitimacy by            on Apple’s and Google’s app           
  • Piracy free            been usurped by licensed free:            consumers stream audio for free                       stream videos for free
  • YouTube has            strong lead over audio streaming            all markets except Sweden and            US where its lead is            than            points
  • Free streaming            helped grow the free pie            than it has stolen piracy’s            only            of consumers say they            stopped or reduced using            because            streaming
  • Free is            cornerstone of music consumption among                       of under            stream music videos            free and            stream audio for           
  • It is            for a recalibration of free,            a more evidence based role            YouTube and a honing of            freemium model

Companies mentioned in this report: Spotify, Pandora, Soundcloud, YouTube, Apple, Google, The Pirate Bay, Napster, BitTorrent

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