From Reddit: Has Spotify Crushed Music Piracy?
Pundits have been arguing since before streaming services even existed that the models now employed by Spotify, Rdio, Google Music and their ilk would squash music piracy. Provide an inexpensive, legal alternative with high quality audio and consistent labeling from a trust-worthy source with no-hassle access and you’d effectively remove any impetus to pirate. Who would want to go through the trouble of searching for and downloading torrents of questionable quality with potentially harmful malware attached when a cheap (or even free) legal alternative exists that you can access from your computer or phone in just a few clicks? Get the price point and and the user interface right and the rest would come soon after.
We’re a couple of years into the streaming era now, and it appears that that logic is holding true. Studies like this one on Forbes.com show that music piracy in the U.S. dropped off a cliff from 2012 to 2011 thanks to Spotify (and other streaming services, but let’s be real, Spotify has the lion’s share of users). Similar studies in other countries such as the Netherlands and Norway corroborate this data.
But it’s not just abstract numbers: anecdotes from the court of public opinion give credence to the idea that there’s just no reason to pirate anymore with services like Spotify around. From the Music Subreddit, posted on Friday:
I realized the other day taht music streaming services (Spotify, Rdio, Xbox Music, etc), have effectively stopped me from downloading music illegally.
I would much rather pay $10/month than have to worry about downloading music all the time. Spotify has definitely changed the way I acquire and listen to music. Has this happened to anyone else?
The above post has generated nearly 2,500 responses as of the moment I’m writing this. The conversation extends to other media as well — Hulu and Netflix subscriptions cutting down on film and TV piracy, and Steam cutting down on computer game piracy. The comments are overwhelmingly positive.
I’m not really in a position to comment on the matter since most of the music I could ever want is sent to me directly by record labels and publicists, but it certainly seems as if there is a whole lot less chatter and finger-pointing about piracy these days.
So: has Spotify stopped, or dramatically reduced, the amount of music you pirate? Be honest and we promise we won’t judge. Sound off below.