Music piracy statistics paint a troubling picture of the industry.
Every year, countless artists, distributors, and record studios, lose their jobs due to the illegal distribution of music.
Music piracy usually comes in two forms: stream ripping, which is downloading the music while it’s being streamed, and copyright infringement, which is obtaining tracks from sources that aren’t legal or paid for.
To shed more light on this issue, let’s review some critical music piracy statistics that are both interesting and shocking.
General music piracy statistics
These music piracy facts have been obtained from surveys and reports published by music record companies.
- More than $12.5 billion is lost due to music piracy annually, in the US alone.
- 30% of people worldwide listen to music without paying for it.
- The majority of music pirates are between 16 and 24 years old.
- About 39.2% of all pirated music is stream-ripped.
- 14.4% of music thieves use social media to download music illegally.
- A comparison between 2017 and 2021 shows that there was a 65% drop in music piracy.
- Among film, TV, software, and audiobooks, only 16% of all pirated material is music.
Stunning music piracy stats
1. One-third of all music lovers listen to their favorite tracks illegally
According to an IFPI research, about 30% of the world’s population listens to music illegally.
People from China, India, and Iran have made the most visits to piracy websites and P2P platforms, which is understandable since most music is unavailable in their countries.
2. About 35% of all music pirates are 16 to 24 years old
This is a trend that was first noticed in 2017 and later seen again and again all over the globe.
Another study from 2021 showed that 34% of people between 16 and 24 find pirating normal.
3. 14.4% of music thieves use social media
Social media plays an essential role in music copyright infringement. In fact, 14.4% of pirates download their favorite tracks from various social media platforms without paying for them.
4. $12.5 billion is lost to music piracy annually
Music piracy facts show that the losses for the industry are quite significant, with $12.5 billion in the US alone.
This leads to a substantial number of people losing jobs in the music industry (over 71,000 each year).
Due to this phenomenon, many artists, recording studios, publishers, and marketers are out of business.
5. From 2020 to 2021, there was an 18.6% increase in music piracy
The reason for this temporary increase while the global trend of piracy was on the fall, can be sought in the global COVID-19 pandemic and the millions of people who had to stay home without much income.
6. In 2021, stream ripping accounted for 39.2% of all music piracy
We can attribute this trend to the rise in popularity of on-demand streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
7. In 2022, music pirating sites received 180 billion visits
The number marks a 15.2% increase, compared to 2021. The country with the most visits was the US, followed by Russia and India.
8. In 2020, music accounted for 16% of all pirated material
Among all the pirated material, music accounted for only 16%. It’s interesting to know that the three most pirated artists are Ed Sheeran, Luis Fonsi, and Ricky Martin.
9. 70% of online users of music are ok with piracy
70% of the people who listen to music online or have a subscription to on-demand listening websites believe that copyright infringement and streaming ripping are ok.
10. 30% of people pirated music via copyright infringement
The percentage of 16 to 24-year-olds who accessed music through copyright infringement was 38%.
This is while stream ripping was performed by 27% of the population, and 35% of them were 16 to 24 years old.
11. Piracy generated a revenue of 1.3 billion dollars in 2021
Piracy websites made a significant revenue in 2021, totaling $1,3 billion. Almost all of that was generated through ads.
However, research shows that the majority of the ads on these websites are invalid or harmful.
12. There has been a 33% increase in the number of stream-ripping websites
From 2020 to 2021, the number of stream-ripping websites rose by 33%, which indicates the popularity of streaming services and online music streaming websites.
13. 26.76% of all pirated music was obtained through web downloads
The other popular methods of illegally obtaining music are illegal streaming with 35.8%, and stream ripping with 33.4%.
Music piracy demographics
Demographically speaking, music piracy stats reveal much about the state of the world and the culture of the people who listen to music illegally.
14. In China, 65% of people download music illegally
In 2020, 65% of the Chinese people were, in some way or another, engaged in music piracy.
This indicates the fact that most Chinese people believe that music piracy is more convenient and also cheaper.
15. The number of minors engaged in piracy has doubled in Australia
Australian children between 12 and 17 years old are becoming increasingly engaged in music piracy. Currently, this number sits at 31%.
16. 616 million people paid for music in 2022
616 million people all around the world paid for music streaming subscriptions in 2022. The number is up by 93 million people, compared to 2021.
17. 68% of Indians streamed music illegally in 2021
In 2021, it was reported that 68% of Indians streamed music illegally. This was partly due to the fact that illegal streaming was cheaper and partly because illegal music is more readily available in India.
18. Men are more likely to infringe on copyright laws
According to a survey done in 2022 in the UK, men are more likely to infringe on copyright laws than women.
Among the men who participated in the survey, 53% said they pirate music to have instant access to it.
Another 47% wanted to have a wide range of music at their disposal, followed by 39% who needed free or cheap music.
19. In 2022, Iran was the number one culprit in the music piracy business
Iran accounts for 15.05% of all the piracy in the music world. Ranking in second place is India with 10.29%, followed by the United States with 7% and Russia with 6%.
20. Music piracy in African countries is on the rise
(Source: Nation Africa)
Between 2021 and 2022, the number of visits to piracy websites reached 59.2 million in Kenya – a 9 million increase.
However, some countries are doing better in this regard. In Nigeria, there were 54.3 million visits in Q1 of 2022, which shows a decrease of over 10 million, compared to the previous year.
From the insight we gleaned from various music piracy statistics, it’s evident that the illegal use of music has had a detrimental effect on the industry and has cost many people their capital and jobs.
The good news is that people are getting more and more conscious of the fact that copyright infringement is a serious offense that can have harmful repercussions for society.