Has the music piracy battle been won?
Read full article here (from wired.co.uk)
But they [the stats] show that very few people, proportionally, are interested in downloading music files, despite the BPI chief Geoff Taylor's recent claims (PDF link) that "the enormous scale of the piracy problem shows no signs of abating".
Music set the foundations for the current filesharing community -- it's what made the likes of Napster, Kazaa and Limewire so big in the first place. At the start of the 00s, you couldn't move for websites offering as much music as you could listen to for absolutely nothing.
For a while, the major record labels didn't notice -- people were still buying CDs, so it was less of an issue. But then they stopped, and all hell broke loose -- the major labels poured what was left of their rapidly-dwindling cash into their legal departments and the anti-piracy efforts co-ordinated by trade bodies like the BPI, RIAA and the IFPI.
In fact, what's more likely to have been the cause for the decline in music filesharing is the glut of good, legal, music services that have emerged in that time. The likes of iTunes and Amazon MP3 made it simply and easy to get music onto portable music players and mobile phones, and companies like Spotify and Last.fm proved that sharing free music isn't something to be feared -- it's to be encouraged, and it can be monetised.
With the evidence showing that pirates are the music industry's most valuable customers, and all the barriers to digital content nirvana having been removed by innovative technology companies and record companies that are willing to license more freely, is it really any surprise that music piracy is far less of a problem than it once was?