The IFPI-IMI Digital Music Study 2018 has reported an extremely high consumption of pirated music in India. India has the most number of users that resort to piracy to download music than any other country in the study.
There is a significant rise in the consumption of music in the country, especially amongst the youth (aged 16-34). However, most consumers (about 81%) use free audio streaming services. The survey also reported that video streaming platforms and radio were other popular means for consuming music. The introduction of streaming apps and the improvements in the digital infrastructure of the country have definitely facilitated this increase. But, the Indian recorded music industry has unfortunately not been able to benefit sufficiently by this positive change.
The report attributes this gap in monetisation to a few reasons. Firstly, music consumers in India prefer free services over paid subscription based models. While there are about 100 million active music-streaming users in India, the conversion rate from free services to paid subscriptions is as low as 1%. The study also reports that about a third of the respondents don’t pay for streaming as they can download whatever they want for free through piracy.
Industry experts are optimistic that music consumers in India will pay for content if sufficiently incentivised, but clearly more needs to be done to facilitate this change. – Digital Music Study 2018
Piracy In India
Digital piracy is a real threat to the growth of the Indian recorded music industry. Steps need to be taken to formulate anti-piracy policies and also to convert piracy users into paying consumers. Out of all the countries taken into consideration for the study, India has the most piracy users, at 76%.
Stream ripping seems to be the most popular method of pirating music in India amongst all age groups. Consumers use websites like Convert2mp3 and Flvto.biz to stream rip content from popular video streaming website, YouTube. Furthermore, there are softwares like YTD Video Downloader and browsers plug-ins that allow the users to download audio from any YouTube page.
How to Tackle Piracy
The study suggests adopting swift remedies like website blocking, which also happens to be the most effective method in combating piracy.
In some areas of India, orders have occasionally been made against ISPs to prevent their users from accessing certain sites such as the 2012 Calcutta High Court ruling ordering hundreds of ISPs to block access to 104 copyright infringing websites. – Digital Music Study 2018
IMI in association with IFPI has also made several efforts to take down major infringing sites. However, ISPs that are based out of the country use their domestic protection, ‘often claiming the protection of the Safe Harbour privileges in US law’. The study suggests that the best way to tackle this problem would be to block access to those sites from within India.