Stream-Ripping: Fastest Growing Form of Music Piracy in UK

According to new research by the Intellectual Property Office and PRS for Music, “stream-ripping” technology is the fastest-growing approach to music piracy in the United Kingdom. The research indicates a 141.3 percent increase in this type of illegal activity between 2014 and 2016. Stream-ripping apps and websites allow consumers to convert streaming content such as Spotify songs and YouTube videos into digital files that can be stored on mobile devices and computers. In September of 2016, such sites were accessed 498,681 times in the U.K., while BitTorrent was only used 23,567 times.

For additional comparison, sites such as Dropbox and Rapidshare were accessed 104,898 times.


“Record labels claim that ‘tens, or even hundreds of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month,’” reports the BBC. “One service alone is thought to have more than 60 million monthly users.”

The following reasons were given for stream-ripping (participants were allowed to select more than one response):

  • Music was already owned by the user in another format (31 percent)
  • Wanting to listen to music offline (26 percent)
  • Wanting to listen to music on the move (25 percent)
  • Cannot afford to pay for music (21 percent)
  • The feeling that official music content is overpriced (20 percent)

“A quarter of the people who use stream-ripping believed the sites had the necessary rights and permissions to allow them to download and rip content; and one in five said they felt they were not doing anything illegal,” notes the BBC.

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