Annual Music Study Shows Illegal Activity Decline in 2012

According to numbers from global information company The NPD Group, illegal music file sharing declined in 2012, quite significantly when compared to peer-to-peer sharing’s height in 2005. This year the number of consumers using P2P services to download music declined by 17 percent compared to one year earlier. In 2005, a total of 33 million people used these services, while 21 million used P2P in 2012.

“The volume of illegally downloaded music files from P2P services also declined 26 percent, compared to the previous year; however P2P wasn’t the only sharing activity to shrink,” notes The NPD Group press release. “Music files burned and ripped from CDs owned by friends and family fell 44 percent, the number of files swapped from hard drives dropped 25 percent, and the volume of music downloads from digital lockers decreased 28 percent.”

NPD’s Annual Music Study 2012 also reveals that 40 percent of those who had illegally downloaded music via P2P services last year are no longer doing so, or are at least doing so less often.

“The primary reason for this reduced sharing activity was an increased use of free, legal music streaming services,” explains the report. “In fact nearly half of those who stopped or curtailed file sharing cited the use of streaming services as their primary reason for stopping or reducing their file-sharing activity.”

“For the music industry, which has been battling digital piracy for over a decade, last year was a year of progress,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “Among other factors, the increased use of legal and licensed streaming services has proven to be an alternative for music fans who formerly used P2P networks to obtain music.”