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

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

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