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Pirate sites and YouTube still major issues for musicians’ income

Astounding figures from the International Federation of Phonographic Industries' new study.

The newly released Music Consumer Insight Report by the London-based International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) – which represents record companies the world over – had good news for artists and songwriters, as well as the music industry.
 
Consumers are still obsessed with listening to music, and on a greater diversity of devices than ever before. On average, they spend 17.8 hours a week, or 2½ hours a day, listening.  Most of it is in the car (66%) or relaxing at home (63%). There’s also commuting to work/education (54%), while working or studying (40%), at gigs and festivals (36%), while exercising at the gym (36%) or while sleeping (19%). It’s different for those aged 16 – 24, as they listen most when travelling to and from school or work (72%), relaxing at home (69%), cooking and cleaning (54%) and going to sleep (30%).
 
Based on research carried out online among people between 16 and 64, the report looks at 20 of the biggest music markets. They are Australia (#8 in the world), Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK and US.
 
Most music is consumed via on-demand streaming (86%). Young music consumers are the most engaged streamers, with 57% of 16-24 year olds using a paid audio streaming service. Record companies have licensed over 45 million tracks to digital services. But in general, paid audio services account for only 28% of on-demand music streaming. Free audio streaming accounts for 20% of on-demand play.
 
Pop is the most popular genre (64%), followed by rock (57%), dance, electronic, house (32%), film and TV soundtracks (30%), hip hop (26%), singer-songwriter (24%), R&B (23%), soul/blues (22%) and metal (19%).
 
Piracy remains an issue. 38% admitted to listening to music on pirate sites. Stream ripping, which jumped 60% in 2016, is the most popular way to infringe copyright (32%) while 23% download through cyberlockers or P2P (23%) and 17% use search engines to locate infringing content. The report says, “Stream ripping users are more likely to say that they rip music so they have music to listen to offline. This means they can avoid paying for a premium streaming subscription.”  Ironically, the two markets that once had the highest rate of music piracy, China and India, now report 98% of consumers listen to licensed music.
 
The other issue is the popularity of YouTube. User upload services dominate consumption across all ages:  nearly half of all time (47%) spent listening to on-demand music is on YouTube. 35% said they don’t subscribe to any of the services because everything they want to hear is on YouTube. As it is, YouTube pays such a low royalty rate: less than $1 per user compared to $20 from Spotify. But as IFPI chief executive Frances Moore points out, the music industry is working effectively with lawmakers to wipe out piracy and force YouTube to pay more.