British Music Industry Sees Piracy Threat Beyond P2P

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A new survey carried out on behalf of the BPI in the UK indicates that despite best efforts, P2P use is not in decline. As the industry continues to drag its feet when it comes to competing against other suppliers of music online, many consumers are branching out and turning to several alternative methods for acquiring their sounds.

A new survey carried out by Harris Interactive for the BPI has found that of 3,442 respondents, 1,012 (29%) of them are acquiring their music from P2P or other Internet sources.

Carried out in November, the study found that while P2P use remains constant, usage of other other methods and techniques for acquiring music are on the increase.

Sources being exploited by the 16 to 54 year-old respondents include blogs and forums which publish links to music stored on so-called ‘cyberlockers’, a generic term for hosting sites such as Rapidshare. These showed an 18% increase in usage by respondents during the last 6 months.

Other non-P2P sources enjoying increased usage from respondents during the same period include MP3 search engines such as SkreemR (up 28%), and newsgroups which show a big leap of 42%.

While the BPI’s Chief Executive Geoff Taylor points out that there are as many as 35 legal digital music services in the UK for Internet users to acquire music from, the biggest gaining ‘alternative’ source with respondents is not a free mechanism such as BitTorrent.

During the last 6 months, overseas MP3 pay sites (such as those listed here) enjoyed an increase in usage of 47% with the respondents who admitted to getting their music from ‘alternative’ sources. This seems to be an indication that people are willing to pay for music, just not at the levels being demanded in their home market. While these sites are labeled as ‘unlicensed’ by the BPI, they maintain they are completely legal in their own countries.

Rather than focusing on the usual P2P/BitTorrent bogeyman, this report puts emphasis on other methods of acquiring music, in the hope that the UK government will indeed grant itself the power to introduce new laws quickly to deal with these ‘new threats’, as mentioned in the Digital Economy Bill.


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