There probably are a number of contributing factors, but it seems as though illegal music file sharing is on the decline. At least one reason might be the growing popularity of for-fee music download services, according to The NPD Group.
In fact, NPD Group (News - Alert) says, illegal music file sharing declined significantly in 2012. In 2012 the number of consumers using peer-to-peer (P2P) services to download music declined 17 percent, compared to the previous year. The music industry might be optimistic, but piracy has declined.
That might validate the contention that better availability of legal music sources would in fact reduce music piracy.
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When P2P file sharing peaked in 2005, one in five Internet users aged 13 and older (33 million people) used P2P services to download music; however, last year that number fell to 11 percent (21 million people), NPD says.
The volume of illegally downloaded music files from P2P services also declined 26 percent, compared to the previous year.
Music files burned and ripped from CDs owned by friends and family fell 44 percent, the number of files swapped from hard drives dropped 25 percent, and the volume of music downloads from digital lockers decreased 28 percent.
According to NPD, 40 percent of consumers who had illegally downloaded music using P2P services in 2011 reported that they had stopped or downloaded less music from P2P networks.
The primary reason for this reduced sharing activity was an increased use of free, legal music streaming services. In fact nearly half of those who stopped or curtailed file sharing cited the use of streaming services as their primary reason for stopping or reducing their file-sharing activity.
Edited by Brooke Neuman