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P2P Music Downloads At All-Time Low 369

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the imagine-if-music-were-just-cheaper dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "According to research group NPD Group, the shuttering of Limewire's music file sharing service has led to a similar decline in the usage of such services throughout the US. The number has gone from a high of 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 to just nine percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, right after Limewire shut down its file-sharing services due to a court order, when a federal judge sided with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)."
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P2P Music Downloads At All-Time Low

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:57AM (#35598546)
    Most people I know stopped downloading music after Spotify came a few years ago. It's an awesome service, and I gladly pay the monthly fee for it. Others take the ad supported version. But all in all, it did wonders to stop piracy.

    The same can be said about Steam. I currently own over 250 games on Steam and I gladly buy more, as it's easy, fast and just works. Yeah yeah, Steam might go down in 500 years, but you know what, I don't care. It's great for me now and I probably won't be playing those games then, if they even work with that generations systems. And if I really want to play some classic again, there will always be (and even increasingly) services similar to Good Old Games and console stores that sell old games cheaply and modified to work with current systems.

    Those two services have come to a point where it's easier and better to buy than pirate. Now just give me the same for movies and TV and I'm set. And I wont be making any stupid comments about how music labels are ripping off hard working artists (while forgetting the artists signed that contract themself) or how some item you buy should still be working 1000 years from now, because frankly I don't care. I just want a good working service where I can throw my money and get the product quickly and easily.

    And on a related note, I just bought Crysis 2, Portal 2 and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood from Steam. All great games (AssBro has amazingly fun multiplayer where everyone have targets to kill while also being someone elses target).
    • If the music industry had a simple way to buy rights to songs, etc., people would probably even pay to use that in youtube videos they make, etc. As it stands now, you use one service to find out all 2-5 services you need to get a hold of, then use those 2-5 services to determine all of the fees you have to pay. Ridiculous. The music industry is sometimes as backwards as the Patent and Trademark Office of the US.
      • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:10AM (#35598728) Homepage Journal

        This is also true... have you ever tried to properly license a song for a small product? They ask for thousands of dollars and treat you as if you're going to be making money on the project. They don't even like to call you back unless you're some super-huge corporation.

        Just put in a system that allows you to pay $20 to license a song for a personal-use video, youtube, whatever and people will pay that as well. In terms of licensing where someone is using a song for some creative work they generally want to stay within the law but when the only option that someone gives them to license a song is thousands of dollars they *can't* stay within the law without emptying their wallets completely.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          This is also true... have you ever tried to properly license a song for a small product? They ask for thousands of dollars and treat you as if you're going to be making money on the project. They don't even like to call you back unless you're some super-huge corporation. (...) Just put in a system that allows you to pay $20 to license a song for a personal-use video, youtube, whatever and people will pay that as well.

          Well, unless they're set up for volume with a very streamlined process it's probably not worth it. Just the fact that they can't just fire volleys of C&D letters but rather have to check it against a huge DB of licensees, who no doubt will use it in many different ways and places is complicated. Even if they demand to send all works you want to license to them for addition to their hash database even a single bit flip will bring it up as a false positive. Then people start complaining that they do have

        • by gknoy (899301)

          Find an indie artist and use different music for your youtube videos. You can still be ethical.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Bing Tsher E (943915)

            Or (shocked look) make some of your own music.

            But don't be surprised if some other people copy it.

            • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @12:22PM (#35599656)

              Or (shocked look) make some of your own music.

              So this [youtube.com] is all your fault!

              (Backstory: Her parents paid $2000 to a couple of guys at the music industry's equivalent of a vanity publisher to pipe their kid's vocals through autotune and spend an hour doing a couple of video shoots with her and her friends. Pretty good testament to what can be done with modern technology on a shoestring budget, but also a pretty good testament to "just because you can, doesn't mean you should".)

              But don't be surprised if some other people copy it.

              Nothing wrong with copying. That's what remix culture is all about. The song itself may be execrable, but the explosion [youtube.com] of creativity [youtube.com] it's inspired is nothing short of awesome.

      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        If the music industry had a simple way to buy rights to songs, etc., people would probably even pay to use that in youtube videos they make, etc

        Oooh, nice idea. Magnatune used to have such a system where you just clicked on the appropriate licence type and purchased. Of course Magnatune was obscure (though sometimes talented) bands. I don't know if they still have it because Magnatune switched to a Spotify style streaming service instead of sales, so I stopped using them, but the precedent is there.

        This would genuinely be a great service and I've no doubt that it could make money if properly done. You should probably actually just write a letter

      • The music industry doesn't need to buy the rights to music. Their contracts are so onerous and one sided that the bands just give them the rights to the music. Frankly, I consider that stealing.

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:07AM (#35598676) Homepage Journal

      I wish I had mod points because this is so on target.

      This is how the music business survived for decades. First of all it was so very expensive to have vinyl pressers (you notice people still did bootlegs though) and then with cassettes the quality loss was so bad it was better to buy new. If you give people a product that is better and easier than using B.T. or Limewire or whatever they WILL pay for it.

      All the RIAA innovates on though is how to infuriate and sue people...

    • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:32AM (#35598984)

      Only downside is that Spotify isn't available in the US. Yes, you can proxy, but it takes gymnastics to get it working on your Android or iPhone, especially if you want a subscription.

      The only analog of that in the US would be Rhapsody and the Zune Marketplace. After my effort in trying to cancel Rhapsody service (when URGE [1] moved to them), I would hesitate on recommending them.

      [1]: MTV/Microsoft's URGE was one of the best subscription music services, although it had a relatively brief lifespan. It actually had decent band articles, showcased new bands and was good at recommending new bands.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tom229 (1640685)
      I agree. Correlation doesnt equal causation. It seems more likely that the market finally giving people want they want through services like grooveshark and itunes is the cause. Encforcing draconian bullshit on the worst p2p service available is ancillary.
    • Since I'm too lazy to research it myself. It seems steam is a drm service? a phoning home one?
      So if I buy portal 2 from steam that means its only mine for as long as I have a net connection, steam is online and my windows installation is not touched? Do I risk losing hundreds of dollars if I reinstall Windows or something?

    • by Synn (6288)

      Price is also a factor. Charge $60 for a game on Steam and people will still pirate it simply because it's worth their time to do so. But if Dragon Age 3 came out as a digital download only for $10 there'd be little point to pirate it. Of course that doesn't happen because the publisher sets the digital price to be the same as the boxed copies in stores.

      At some point developers will start to do the math and see that they can drastically increase profits by going low price on digital only. I WOULD say that t

  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:58AM (#35598564) Homepage

    Editors, can we get a story about the $75 trillion P2P lawsuit soon plz?

  • Crappy Music (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denshao2 (1515775) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:59AM (#35598586) Homepage Journal
    There isn't much left to download.
    • Pretty much this.

      It simply is this way. Torrents and P2P went up whenever new people found out about it and started downloading their favorite songs. But, ya know, once you have a song on your HD, you don't need to download it again. And sooner or later they have everything they want and their use of P2P dwindles to a fraction of what it was before, simply because, well, how much music does actually appear every year that you'd even remotely want? I'm no mainstream listener and what I want I can often get o

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      I was going to say "You're right," but it turns out there has been a decline:

      "The average number of music files downloaded from P2P networks also declined from 35 tracks per person in Q4 2007 to just 18 tracks in Q4 2010, although some downloaded just one or two tracks, while others took hundreds. NPD estimates there were 16 million P2P users downloading music in Q4 2010, which is 12 million fewer than in Q4 2007."

      Personally I still download tons of music..... from youtube (and with video) that I store on m

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        FIXED : I was going to say [You're wrong] but it turns out there has been a decline, so you are correct. People are showing less interest in obtaining music via P2P. Probably ripping it directly from websites like youtube or hulu

        I like the modern music, but then I like electronica in general. The "autotuned" sound works for me, along with the notes that sound like they were made with a Super Nintendo. But I figure it's only a matter of time until there's a "backlash" and music swings back to acoust

  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redemtionboy (890616) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:00AM (#35598592)

    Music sales suddenly skyrocket right? Right?? Oh, they're still abysmal. Never mind then.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Yep, I think that the music industry should see at least a few trillion dollars worth of profits for 2010 using the same model they use to claim damages.
    • Music sales suddenly skyrocket right? Right?? Oh, they're still abysmal. Never mind then.

      You're using logic. This is politics, logic is not accepted.

      The point of the anti-P2P pro-DRM campaign is so that the old distributors can maintain control over the distribution channel. It has nothing to do with piracy. It has to do with demonizing P2P as an alternative distribution channel for artists. You mustn't put your own music on the Pirate Bay, even if that means you'll sell more concert tickets, because they're evil! Evil people who are stealing from you, the artist! We must stop them. Also, we mu

  • Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:03AM (#35598620)

    There is a decline in music downloads that NPD Group is able to track.

    Think about that one for a second.

    • by Lazareth (1756336)

      Yeah, it is a pretty stupid non-story. Basically saying that after a network shut down, which amounted to x number of downloads they were able to track, they saw a fall of x downloads. OMGWTFBBQ shutting down a network removes the downloads occuring on it! Who would've thought.

      In other news, pirates are moving to other less trackable networks or methods.

      • In other news, pirates are moving to other less trackable networks or methods.

        Dude.

        First rule.

        • by gknoy (899301)

          They're trading music in Fight Club? Ouch, that's some hard core dedication to sharing.

      • by sorak (246725)

        Yeah, it is a pretty stupid non-story. Basically saying that after a network shut down, which amounted to x number of downloads they were able to track, they saw a fall of x downloads. OMGWTFBBQ shutting down a network removes the downloads occuring on it! Who would've thought.

        In other news, pirates are moving to other less trackable networks or methods.

        In other news: New version of Peerblock released. RIAA reports that piracy has dropped to 1%.

    • by DinZy (513280)

      Good point. It is just a decline in what they are able to track, because one of the services they were tracking no longer allows for downloads.

    • The fact that they think Limewire represents 50% of all file sharing should be telling as to just how out of touch they are.
  • shitty statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fwice (841569) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:03AM (#35598628)

    The number has gone from a high of 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 to just nine percent in the fourth quarter of 2010

    16% of what? the article doesn't mention.

    16% of the population? 16% of what it used to be?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smelch (1988698)
      Yeah I came in here to say the same thing. 16% was the high in 2007, now its down to 9% so it can't be "of what it used to be"... somehow I doubt thats total population in the United States either, I would have expected it to be lower than that with all the old people. Mostly though I feel like any of these statistics have to be bullshit numbers to begin with. They may reflect what they measured, but I don't think anybody could accurately measure all P2P traffic of illegal songs and not snare other kinds of
    • by Spad (470073)

      You should never include a scale when you're referencing numbers in a news article, otherwise the statistics might become meaningful.

    • by Captain Spam (66120) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:32AM (#35598980) Homepage

      The number has gone from a high of 16% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to just $9,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010. This has been going down at a rate of 34W per day, and it can be expected to be down to 18 acres by the end of 2011. Analysts believe, however, that new P2P technology could see that number jump back up by 12kg before settling at 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • by Itesh (1901146) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:03AM (#35598634)
    Or are services like Pandora, Spotify, and even iTunes giving the consumers what they want at a price they want and thus helping to drive pirating down?
    • by Gabrosin (1688194) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:10AM (#35598724)

      This. Streaming services make it a lot easier to hear the music you want whenever you want without having to download OR pay for it. I'm partial to Grooveshark myself, but Pandora's pretty good too.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Or are services like Pandora, Spotify, and even iTunes giving the consumers what they want at a price they want and thus helping to drive pirating down?

      I believe that YouTube is the largest service that people go to for music now. And if my wife is any indication, this is accurate. She used to harass me to find this-or-that on P2P. Now she just goes on YouTube, to the extent that I've made sure she can output to the house stereo.

  • All time low? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jolyonr (560227) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:04AM (#35598648) Homepage

    You mean lower than they were in, say, 1776?

  • That most music right now utterly sucks?

    Honestly I have not bought a song off of itunes for 3 months now because 90% of it is crap and the other 10% is uninteresting.. Lately I have been looking for illegal remixes and mashups. Those guys have some real talent...

    • So let me get this straight. You say that 100% of music is crap or uninteresting, yet you claim that some other non-musician can take the crap, "remix it," and suddenly turn it into good music? (If they were musicians, they would create their own original music)

      I agree with you about modern music, which is basically the equivalent of paint-by-numbers by sound engineers, but your point is absurd.

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:37AM (#35599036) Homepage Journal

        You don't really want original music. You want music that sounds like something else you like.

        There is no reason why a mix of two songs that suck can't be fantastic. I don't like to eat cabbage or lactobacillus but I love sauerkraut. "Fusion cuisine" is usually an excuse for some stupid food concept that is being pushed on you but once in a while it results in nirvana, like the potato, pesto, and garlic pizza at Escape from NY. Potato on a pizza sounds stupid until you eat it. (Of course, the stuff is also a poster child for thisiswhyyourefat...)

        Anyway I'm not into Jay-Z and the number of Beatles songs I think are worth a crap can be counted on one hand but DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album is one of the best things I've ever heard. So basically I think you are being ridiculous.

        • by Locke2005 (849178)

          There is no reason why a mix of two songs that suck can't be fantastic

          Try mixing "Baby, baby, baby" and "Friday", then get back to me on that... Bieber and Black together at last!

      • by Lazareth (1756336)

        He is not saying that 100% of music is crap or uninteresting. He is saying that most music right now utterly suck and I agree with him in the sense that most mainstream music, the current "trends" of music, sucks and is uninteresting.

        I find it interesting that you say that somebody who takes music samples and remix it is a non-musician, especially since that statement is utter bullshit. Do you like Daft Punk? Well, if you do I have a newsflash for you: by your definition, they're not real musicians! Ohgawd!

      • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:42AM (#35599096)

        I have to disagree about "modern music" being crap.

        The difference is that in the past, good bands got the spotlight and were heavily promoted.

        These days, what gets the promotion dollars are cookie cutter bands who wouldn't even be able to croak out anything near a melody if it wasn't for Antares's Auto-Tune product. Why do they get promoed? Because it is cheaper to hype some naiive and malleable stars for a few years, then find some new meat when the news stories about their rehab and DUI misadventures hit the press.

        There is still good music being made. However, you won't be finding it on the radio (unless you happen to have an independent station). It will be through services like Pandora, last.fm, and other places, not to mention Web forums and word of mouth that one finds bands that don't suck.

        Trust me; there are a lot of new bands that are worth the ear; they just don't have the huge money behind them that Justin Beiber and Ke$ha do.

        • by Raenex (947668)

          What makes you think things were so different in previous decades? Even the Beatles, early in their career, were cookie-cutter. You can go back to the 80s to bands like New Kids on the Block (*shudder*).

          There's always been trash on the radio, mixed in with a few gems. If you never find a song you like then you just have grown old and have a selective memory.

      • How's it absurd?

        All music is, essentially, the stringing and mixing together of sound waves. Usually of frequencies that we consider "going well together". It's by no means unheard of that someone takes a song, takes a few snippets out of it, mixes it with other snippets, a new base line and creates some other, similar but "better sounding" sound waves.

        The music of the 90s was full of it. 99% garbage, but there were some true talents as well. I'll never forget how the Saints used Annie Lennox as an instrume

      • I wish I had modpoints - there is always this conception that it takes talent to make remixes and mashups. While, no doubt some of it is certainly worthy of "talent" as a description, the majority, especially the popular ones, are simply devoid and bereft of any talent or skill at all. They (the creators) are no more worthy of being called "musicians" as the dog that howls or the cat that screeches.
      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @12:49PM (#35600052) Homepage

        (If they were musicians, they would create their own original music)

        That's not really true though. For starters, the line between "original" and "unoriginal" music isn't very clear. Which of these groups is creating original music?
        - The Boston Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with a fantastic new interpretation
        - A group playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on kazoos
        - A disco group who took Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and rewrote it with a dance beat
        - A DJ who took the BSO's recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and made a great dance beat with it
        - An MC who took the DJ's great dance beat and busted some rhymes to it.
        - A folk singer who goes to some obscure area of Hungary, learns a popular folk song from that area, translates the lyrics, and records and popularizes it in the US
        - A second folk singer who adds 10 new verses to that same folk song

        All of them took a musical legacy, added some twists or nuances to it, and made something new. But in the RIAA's worldview, the DJ, MC, and second folk singer did something thoroughly horrible.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:44AM (#35599112) Journal

      Right now? Mainstream music has utterly sucked since the late 90s. If you want some quality music over P2P, check out bt.etree.org.

      Personally, my downloading is at an all time low because I have everything I want. I pass up free leech at the private trackers I'm on, simply because I wouldn't have the time to use it anyway.

  • Thank Amazon (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:09AM (#35598716)

    I don't know about others, but since Amazon started selling unencrypted MP3s, I've stopped turning to illegal sources for music.

    • Pretty much. I've bought more music in the past 6 months than I have in probably the last decade. Cheap, easy, safe, and legal.

      However, there's probably more sneakernet trading going on than ever before. If you've got 8 gigs of music on a USB stick, it's really trivial to plug it into your buddies computer and copy the whole thing over. You know the quality is good and there's no risk of getting sued.

    • by hahn (101816)
      +1 Amen to this. Along with Pandora and new music videos being released on YouTube, there's no need to pirate anymore. If the RIAA would just get their heads out of their asses and stop assuming that everyone wants to screw them (well we do, but only because they're so damn greedy), they might actually realize that people are willing to pay when it's worth it. Also more and more, I find independent artists who are selling their CD's or MP3's direct on their own website and I'm perfectly willing to buy it
  • Challenge accepted.
  • It's one thing to say that they've gone down, but another entirely to claim what's causing it.

    I used to download music because it was more convenient than driving to the store and let me sample the music before deciding if I even wanted it. Then companies started offering digital downloads, but most of it was DRM-encumbered so I still stayed away. However, after most stores went DRM-free there was no reason not to use them. Sure I could still get it for free somewhere else, but the music stores made it q
  • when Pandora and Grooveshark can satisfy all your music needs through the cloud? A drop in media piracy likely has little to do with copyright enforcement and much more to do with cloud streaming services that offer content for free.
  • Once something goes underground, it's increasingly difficult to get reliable numbers because people are trying not to be seen doing it. Obviously some of them are succeeding.

  • If you believe this, you qualify for a job at the Libyan Ministry of Information ! I hear they pay well !

  • If ever there was a time when might be shown a connection between illegal downloads and sales, this might be it. Has there been an increase in legitimate sales? I'm guessing not. I suspect that as other, legal means of collecting music online have come about, people are simply abandoning the illegal means.

    People just want what they want. They aren't "criminal minds" and certainly never needed to be attacked with lawsuits. They just want what they want. When they have an affordable and legal way to get

  • OK, so we have a high of 16% in fourth quarter of 2007 and a low of 9% in the fourth quarter of 2010. Leaving aside that neither here nor in the linked story does it say precent of what, we still have the question of what happened between 2007 and 2010. The article concludes that it must be because of the shutdown of Limewire in the 3rd quarter of 2010. I might buy that if the high point had been the fourth quarter of 2009 or if they presented numbers showing a large drop between the third quarter of 2010 a
  • by _0xd0ad (1974778) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:19AM (#35598842) Journal

    How do they measure "percent" of use?

  • Maybe it's just because MUSIC SUCKS these days. You can't give it away.

    And get off my lawn!

  • Okay, so if P2P is at an all time low and actual record sales are also at an all time low, doesn't that imply that people just don't want new music? Is it hard to replace Limewire? No. But the users need some motivation to go to a new site. It looks like people are less able to justify either their time or money to get new music than ever before.
  • This makes perfect sense. My casual observations note that music piracy has been decreasing steadily for years. There is far less reason reason to pirate any longer. Companies are selling music online, cheaper, more easily, without lock-down, and without DRM -- just like people were asking for.

    Similarly, anime piracy is down now that you can watch anime online legally. It was pirated most heavily when a series came out in Japan and took 10 years before it was subtitled and released in the US and Europe.

  • Oh good... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Graham J - XVI (1076671) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:53AM (#35599224) Homepage Journal

    I guess we'll be seeing that huge uptick in music sales anytime now...

    *holds breath*

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Ummm... wouldn't that also require the music companies putting out some music that doesn't suck? How about recording artists that can sing in pitch and don't need to use autotune?
  • Like I said, most people I know use blogs that link to rapidhsare megaupload and other websites. It is much faster for them, easier and, they claim, safe.
  • I blame Justin Bieber, Rhiana, and Lady Gaga. Give me something worth downloading, and I'll download it!
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @12:16PM (#35599574)
    Back in the day pre torrents etc, the best thing for me was searching for a track then being able to browse that person's hard disk for their other shared tracks. I used to find all manner of cool stuff I never knew existed or artists I'd never heard of. I'd *never* have bought them via iTunes or whatever because I simply didn't know they were there. This happened a lot with people from other countries who typically had their local bands mixed in there that you'd never find in your own country. I've lost count of the amount of albums/tracks I've bought because of that ability to dig around. Sure, some sites try and offer 'if you liked this, what about that?' but it rarely produces anything of note and misses out completely on stuff that's way outside your normal listening area. These days, most of my 'discovering' is done via obscure podcasts but it's not very efficient.

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