| 04 Dec 2023
Availability of 'freemium' music cuts down on piracy

MUMBAI: The growing availability of so-called 'freemium' music is curbing Internet users' impulse to pirate songs, according to a new research survey commissioned by CALinnovates, a technology organisation that serves as a bridge between thriving technology communities and policymakers.

This is especially true among the 18-34 age group: 54 percent of respondent users of ad-supported music services said these freemium services has made them less likely to pirate songs and music. Among all age groups, 41 percent said it made them less likely to pirate music, while only 11 percent said it made them more likely.

The survey shows that users are finding music they want on freemium sites and apps, which may make them feel less inclined to pirate music in the first place. According to the survey, 69 percent reported that their ability to find the music they want has increased as the number of places to get music has expanded beyond iTunes to include Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio.

"For years the mantra has been that if users can legally get access to their music they'll stop relying on pirate sites," said Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates. "This survey shows this is true, and reinforces why it's important to ensure that freemium music distribution platforms can continue to serve the music-loving public."

The survey identified one potential roadblock to access; the prospect of spiking royalty rates that could make it difficult for freemium sites to afford to operate, may have an inverse effect for piracy. According to the survey, two in five Americans said that a reduction in freemium platforms would lead to more piracy (42 percent) while more than 1 in 3 respondents said consumers will have less choices and large companies such as Apple will dominate the marketplace.

"Consumers have never had more choice when it comes to music. But issues such as royalty rates threaten that choice," added Mike Montgomery. "If we want to build upon the progress we've made, we have to ensure a competitive marketplace that encourages innovation. Consumer-friendly business models like ad-supported music services must be allowed to flourish for the music ecosystem of consumers, artists and streaming services to prosper."

The survey of 503 freemium music users was conducted by Zogby Analytics from 9/8-9/9 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.