UK collecting society PRS for Music has published some research into the growth of ‘stream-ripping’ piracy: sites and tools that help people rip streams (e.g. from YouTube or Spotify) into downloads.
It claims that usage of these services has “dramatically” increased by 1,390% in the UK between 2016 and 2019, to become the most popular form of piracy. “Usage of stream-ripping services accounted for 80.2% of the top 50 specifically music infringing sites,” claimed the report.
There are some 900lb gorillas here too: one site, y2mate, is estimated to have accounted for 47% of the usage for those top 50 sites by October 2019.
The report, which was produced by rights-monitoring firm Incopro, claims that YouTube is still the most popular service being ripped, ahead of SoundCloud and Spotify.
While the growth of legal streaming services and paid subscriptions means the music industry doesn’t lose sleep over stream-ripping in 2020 like it did file-sharing a couple of decades ago, but the report thinks the latest piracy form shouldn’t be ignored.
“A persistent and targeted approach in the enforcement of all stream-ripping services is necessary to combat their evolution.”
“We will continue to take all possible measures to prevent stream-ripping services from existing, in order to maximise the royalties we collect for our members and to ensure they receive fair remuneration for their work,” added Simon Bourn, head of IP and litigation at PRS for Music.
“We also expect others who are in positions of responsibility within the digital economy, including app stores, software and plug-in platforms, ad networks, YouTube and other licensed services, to play their own parts in preventing these illegal services from stealing music and depriving songwriters, composers and music publishers of their rightful reward.”