The rise of music streaming services has been hailed as a pretty awesome solution to music piracy, but as it turns out, the rise of streaming services has perhaps inevitably led to the now widespread practice of ‘stream ripping’.
Research published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has found that stream ripping has overtaken file-sharing and torrenting as the biggest source of music piracy, because, well, things like Limewire and BitTorrent are a dying breed.
The research points out that the rise of stream ripping doesn’t tend to be an issue with paid subscription services like Spotify and Tidal, but is definitely an issue with free streaming services like SoundCloud, YouTube and Daily Motion.
Stream ripping services, which go by names like YouTube To Mp3, essentially enable users to take a video URL and have it converted into a downloadable audio file. According to IFPI’s study, “almost half of 16-24 year olds” use these services, which is an increase of 20 per cent since 2015.
The study also found that YouTube was the most commonly ripped platform, with 82 per cent of YouTube users using the service to listen to music.
YouTube has had a unique arrangement with artists and the music industry for some time now — a relationship which is currently on shaky ground.
“YouTube consistently plays down its significance as a music service, arguing amongst other things that the service is primarily promotional,” says IFPI’s Director of Insight, David Price.
“The data from the survey demonstrates clearly that YouTube is a major destination for on-demand music and makes it difficult to accept any argument that the site should operate outside the normal music licensing environment.”
YouTube is currently negotiating new licensing deals with Univesal Music Group, Sony and Warner, and recently launched its own YouTube Music streaming service, but it remains to be seen how the service can fight off stream ripping.
While stream ripping is easy to do, it’s still pretty illegal in most cases. So the next time you’re considering ripping dat stream, just remember…
Watch: ‘The IT Crowd’ Piracy Warning