When Guided by Google, Legal Music is Quicker Than Piracy

Home > News >

Google is often admonished by music companies for not making pirate music harder to find, but does it deserve that criticism? Tests carried out by TorrentFreak on the Billboard Top 10 reveal that in the majority of cases finding authorized content is quicker and easier than finding pirate downloads.

google-bayFor the past several years Google has been under the hammer for supposedly providing easy access to pirated content online. Criticism has flooded in on both sides of the Atlantic, with record labels and their Hollywood counterparts blaming the search giant for infringement they have little do with.

The argument is that Google should take responsibility for what the wider Internet is doing by doctoring its search results and AutoSuggest/AutoComplete features in order to promote legal content while relegating pirate sources to the poor leagues.

The record labels claim that little has happened on this front so we decided to carry out some tests of our own. How quickly could we find both legal and illegal popular music using only Google’s search and suggestions?

The rules

Searching for the current Billboard Top 10, we carried out two searches for each track. One would aim to find infringing content and the other only legal options. We entered no more letters of a song than needed and stopped when Google began guiding us with its AutoSuggest options which we accepted. Any more than ten keypresses or clicks overall would be classed as an abort.

Track #1 – Fancy – Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search Entry – “fancy_”
AutoSuggest offered – “fancy mp3”
Best offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 9

Search for authorized track

Google Search Entry – “fan”
AutoSuggest offered – “fancy”
Best Offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#2 Rude – MAGIC!

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “rud”
AutoSuggest offered – “rude mp3”
Best Offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 6

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “rud”
AutoSuggest offered – “rude magic”
Best Offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#3 Problem – Ariana Grande Featuring Iggy Azalea

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search Entry – “probl”
AutoSuggest offered – “problem ariana grande mp3”
Best Offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 7

Search for authorized track

Google Search Entry – “prob”
AutoSuggest offered – “problem ariana grande”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#4 – Am I Wrong – Nico & Vinz

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “am_”
AutoSuggest offered – “am i wrong mp3”
Best offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 6

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “am i w”
AutoSuggest offered – “am i wrong nico and vinz”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 8

Winner: Pirate option (MP3Skull)

—————————————————————————————

#5 Stay With Me – Sam Smith

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “stay_w”
AutoSuggest offered – “stay with me sam smith mp3”
Best offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 9

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “stay”
AutoSuggest offered – “stay with me”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#6 Wiggle – Jason Derulo Featuring Snoop Dogg

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “wigg”
AutoSuggest offered – “wiggle jason derulo mp3”
Best offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 7

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “wig”
AutoSuggest offered – “wiggle jason derulo”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#7 – Summer – Calvin Harris

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “summer_”
AutoSuggest offered – “summer calvin harris mp3”
Several ‘pirate’ results failed.

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = Aborted (more than 10)

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “sum”
AutoSuggest offered – “summer”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#8 All Of Me – John Legend

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “all_o”
AutoSuggest offered – “all of me john legend mp3”
Best Offer: MP3Fon (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 8

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “all_of_me_j”
AutoSuggest offered – “all of me john legend”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 13

Winner: Pirate option (MP3Fon)

—————————————————————————————

#9 – Maps – Maroon 5

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “maps_maro”
AutoSuggest offered – “maps maroon 5 mp3”
Best offer: MP3Skull (second result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 12

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “maps_m”
AutoSuggest offered – “maps maroon 5”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 8

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)

—————————————————————————————

#10 – Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

Search for unauthorized download

Google Search entry – “turn_d”
AutoSuggest offered – (turn down for what mp3)
Best offer: MP3Skull (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 9

Search for authorized track

Google Search entry – “turn”
AutoSuggest offered – “turn down for what”
Best offer: Vevo (top result)

Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 6

Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube)
—————————————————————————————

Conclusions

From the above results we can see that when using only a song title and then taking Google’s suggestions, most of the time those searching for pirate content will take longer to access it than those looking to go legal.

However, what we’re talking about here is a difference of a handful of clicks, which is hardly the accessibility chasm the RIAA and BPI were aiming for. Pressuring Google and sending millions of DMCA takedown notices every month appears to have had little effect on pirate availability.

Also, it’s also worth noting that if the YouTube/Vevo results were ignored in our tests or removed from Google results altogether, finding legal alternatives would become much harder since iTunes and similar sites are rarely, if ever, on the first page of Google results following either a ‘pirate’ or ‘legal’ search for music.

Google has told the record labels that they need to do something about that themselves, by making their sites more crawlable, but it appears that security concerns have hindered progress on that front to the point that sites like MP3Skull with relatively tiny budgets can beat them at every turn.

It’s difficult to blame anyone but the labels and their partners for that problem.

Sponsors




Popular Posts
Most commented posts
From 2 Years ago…