Stream-ripping is now the fastest-growing form of music piracy in the UK, new research has suggested.
Several sites and apps allow users to turn Spotify songs, YouTube videos and other streaming content into permanent files to store on phones and computers.
Record labels claim that “tens, or even hundreds of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month”.
One service alone is thought to have more than 60 million monthly users.
According to research by the Intellectual Property Office 15% of adults in the UK regularly use these services, with 33% of them coming from the 16-24 age bracket.
Overall usage of stream-ripping sites increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, overwhelmingly overshadowing all other illegal music services.
Reasons given for stream-ripping included:
- Music was already owned by the user in another format (31%)
- Wanting to listen to music offline (26%)
- Wanting to listen to music on the move (25%)
- Cannot afford to pay for music (21%)
- The feeling that official music content is overpriced (20%)
Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music, said: “We hope that this research will provide the basis for a renewed and refocused commitment to tackling online copyright infringement.
“The long-term health of the UK’s cultural and creative sectors is in everyone’s best interests, including those of the digital service providers, and a co-ordinated industry and government approach to tackling stream-ripping is essential.”