Whenever the customary “Spotify doesn’t pay labels/publishers/artists enough money” argument splurges through the music community, the streaming service rolls out its customary response: that Spotify is turning former file-sharers into music consumers, and therefore the royalties rights owners receive from the music platform, while maybe small by comparison to iTunes money, is revenue that the music industry previously wasn’t getting at all.
But is that true? Well, Musicmetric, the London-based agency which tracks online music consumption, reckons there is evidence that the presence of services like Spotify in a market has a tangible impact on illegal file-sharing.
That is to say, in it’s latest Digital Music Index report, Musicmetric says the number of music files downloaded using BitTorrent (which will likely be unlicensed music files) is growing fastest in countries where Spotify does not operate. Meanwhile five of the ten countries where BitTorrent activity is decreasing the fastest, Spotify is available.
Says the report, according to Billboard: “This implies (although does not prove causation) that the proliferation of free access or low-cost streaming services is making a dent in piracy rates in those countries where those services are available”.
Of course other factors are at play where BitTorrent use is declining, or rising less rapidly – including anti-file-sharing enforcement, the disappearance of some BitTorrent-assisting websites, and the growth of other forms of file-sharing. Though the trends identified by Musicmetric are, nevertheless, interesting.
According to the analytics company, the ten countries where BitTorrent file-sharing is growing fastest are: Brazil, Estonia, Russia, Argentina, France, Chile, Mexico, Ukraine, Pakistan and Columbia. Of these, only France has Spotify.
And the ten countries where BitTorrent use is shrinking fastest are: the UK, the US, Canada, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Sweden, Netherlands and Norway.
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