Music biz faces rampant piracy threat as stream ripping jumps 60% in 2016

Stream ripping, the act of illegally extracting copyrighted material from streaming services such as YouTube, is fast mutating.

That’s according to new data passed to MBW by leading content protection and piracy audience data specialist MUSO, which shows just how quickly the practice has been growing in 2016.

In the first nine months of this year, says MUSO – that’s January 1 to September 30 – there were 7.2bn visits to copyright-infringing stream-ripping sites around the globe.

That was up 60% on visits to the same sites (4.5bn) in the equivalent period of 2015.

MUSO estimates that, in turn, around 60% of this stream-ripping traffic is going to audio-only sites, led by the notorious

“The scale of stream ripping, and the corresponding impact on music industry revenues, is enormous.”

Major label lawsuit against

The most-visited stream ripping site in the world,’s owner was sued by all three major labels last month.

The joint lawsuit read: “The scale of stream ripping, and the corresponding impact on music industry revenues, is enormous.

“Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and on that basis allege, that tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream ripping services each month.”

The site boasts more than 60 million unique users per month, and is estimated to be responsible for upwards of 40% of all unlawful stream ripping of music from YouTube.

Simon Horton, Senior Developer at MUSO, said of the new research: ”Our Market Analytics online piracy data shows rapid growth to ripper sites in 2016 – and shines a light on the real scale of the issue.’.

Stream ripping was the third most popular form of piracy in the world last year, according to MUSO’s annual Global Piracy Report – behind illegal streaming (No.1) and torrent sites (No.2).

Ripping platforms made up 17.7% of music-related visits to piracy sites across the globe in 2015, according to MUSO.

Total music-related stream ripping visits across the whole of 2015 stood at 6.2bn.

Interestingly, search engines were directly responsible for an eye-watering 49.8% of all music-seeking traffic reaching these ripping platforms – approximately 3bn visits in total coming from Google et al.

Please note: Muso’s 2016 numbers are for all types of piracy, while the 2015 numbers above are specifically for music-related piracy. Although approximately 40% of this year’s stream-ripping traffic (Jan-Sept) went to non-audio-only sites, much of it would have still involved audio-only ripping.
Music Business Worldwide

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