Survey: 91% of pirates have subscriptions to digital media

Piracy isn’t always listeners’ first choice for how they consume entertainment, and pirates aren’t always averse to paying for content. That’s the top takeaway from new data by piracy specialist MUSO. The group surveyed 1,000 adults in the UK and learned that 60% of respondents said they had illegally streamed or downloaded media, including music, movies, or television. However, 83% of the respondents said they tried to find the content through legal channels first.

“The entertainment industry tends to envisage piracy audiences as a criminal element, and writes them off as money lost – but they are wrong to do so,” MUSO CCO Paul Briley said. “The reality is that the majority of people who have gone through the effort of finding and accessing such unlicensed content are, first and foremost, fans – fans who are more often than not trying to get content legally if they can.”

Cost was the top reason why survey participants said they had downloaded or streamed content illegally at 35.2%. Lack of access or availability was the next largest group at 34.9%. Both the overall group of respondents and those who pirated content reported being customers of digital media subscriptions; 86% and 91%, respectively, said they had one.

“The fact that nine out of ten people who are accessing unlicensed content also have legal subscription services, simply supports the fact that subscription services haven’t solved the problem for content owners or consumers,” Briley said.

Anna Washenko


  1. Spotify is Killing the Music Industry.
    Huge lawsuit for Daniel Ek’s company to tackle

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    WIXEN MUSIC PUBLISHING, which represents hits by the likes of Neil
    Young and Tom Petty, is suing SPOTIFY for at least $1.6BN – claiming
    that the platform is illegally under-paying songwriters while handing
    “outrageous annual salaries to its executives”.

    The Los Angeles-based publisher filed a lawsuit on Friday (January 29)
    in California alleging that DANIEL EK’S platform is hosting tens of
    thousands of Wixen-managed songs without a license.

    The firm seeks statutory damages in excess of $1.6BN – or $150,000 per
    song – for ‘willful copyright infringement’.

    • I second what Billy Bob said. One of my favorite indie musicians is David Cook. He performs pop-rock music. His latest EP, Chromance, was in the top 5 of Billboard’s indie album chart. That’s why I say that there are other factors involved in why your music doesn’t sell well, factors such as popularity and what type of music you perform.

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