Music Piracy

Information and statistics about music piracy and the unauthorized downloading of pirated music files. Data about the digital music files are collected from the entertainment industry and other public information sources.

In 2008, an estimated 1.2 billion music songs were digitally pirated on the Internet in Norway. In 2012, the number of pirated musics files dropped to 210 million.

260 million movies were illegally downloaded in Norway in 2008. By 2012, the number of pirated movies downloaded online fell to 120 million.

Both declines in the number of pirated digital files were attributed to streaming Internet services such as Spotify and Netflix.

Source:  Adam Sherwin, “Music and film industries winning war on piracy, says report,” Independent, July 17, 2013.

Over a three month period that ended in January 2013, almost 400 million digital files were pirated by Internet users in the United Kingdom.

According to a study by Ofcom, 18 percent of Internet users in the UK over the age of 12 accessed a pirated copy of an entertainment service. These files included movies, music, television shows, books, software and video games.

In the previous three month period, the number of Internet users who accessed pirated files was 16 percent.

Out of the 18 percent who accessed a pirated file, the study states that 5 percent of that figure only use illegal services.

59 percent of the digital piracy users in the United Kingdom are male, and 68 percent are under the age of 34.

Source:  Mark Sweney, “Music, TV and film piracy rises among UK internet users,” Guardian, May 28, 2013.

The Indonesian Record Industry Association stated that at least 6 million people in Indonesia are illegally downloading music off of the Internet each day. The value of the music that is downloaded without payment is estimated to be $1.65 Million (16 Billion Indonesian Rupiah) per day.

In 2012, customers purchased 11 million CDs during the year, down from the average of 90 million CDs sold several years before.

(More music piracy statistics.)

Source:  “Piracy may cost record firms $1.65m a day,” Jakarta Post, April 27, 2013.


A report by the NPD Group found that music piracy rates declined in 2012.

According to the study, there were 26 percent less files being illegally downloaded online in 2012 than in 2011.  In addition, 40 percent of respondents stated that they stopped downloading pirated music in 2012. Nearly half of those that stopped said that they stopped illegal downloads due to the availability of streaming music websites such as Spotify.

44 percent of respondents said that they also stopped ripping CDs from friends and family members. 20 percent also stated that they stopped using file-sharing services due to concerns over spyware and viruses.

Source:  Alex Knapp, “Study Finds That Streaming And Spyware Are Killing Music Piracy,” Forbes, February 26, 2013.


The regional manager for Virgin Megastore in Dubai stated that their industry believes that it losses between 20 to 30 percent of revenue due to counterfeiting and pirating activities in the Gulf Region.

Other companies in the region state that the loss to revenue could be as high as 60 percent due to counterfeiting.

In a single raid, investigators with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry found nearly 17,000 counterfeit Swiss watches in a private apartment in Dubai.

Source:  Shane McGinley, “10,000 fake watches seized in Dubai raid,” Arabian Business, January 10, 2013.

According to a report by Google and the Performing Rights Society for Music in Britain, roughly 86 percent of file-sharing websites that allow users to share digital content rely on advertising to fund their operations. For websites that allow Live-TV Streaming, 67 percent of the sites relied upon advertising to fund their operations.

Source:  Dawn C. Chmielewski, “Report links Google, Yahoo to Internet piracy sites,” Los Angeles Times, Company Town Blog, January 2, 2013.

Full Report: “The six business models for copyright infringement: A data-driven study of websites considered to be infringing copyright,” PRS for Music and Google, June 27, 2012.

According to a report by musicmetric, more people in the United States purchased music in the first half of 2012 than illegally downloading music using BitTorrent.

150.5 million CDs and album downloads were sold from January to June 2012. In comparison, 75.6 million albums were downloaded using BitTorrent during the same time period.

698 million songs were purchased by Americans during the first half of the year, while 21.3 million songs were downloaded using BitTorrent.

Source:  Ethan Smith, “Americans Buy More Music Than They Pirate,” Wall Street Journal, Corporate Intelligence Blog, October 3, 2012.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan reported that 4.36 billion files of music and video was illegally downloaded in the country in 2010. During that year, 440 million media files were purchased in Japan.

Source:  “Japan introduces piracy penalties for illegal downloads,” BBC News, September 30, 2012.

An official with Universal Music stated to the press that the music piracy rate in the Middle East was 95 percent. Key areas where piracy takes place is in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Worldwide, losses from music piracy causes $12.5 Billion.

Source: Naushad K. Cherrayil,”Piracy is rampant in music industry,” gulfnews, June 29, 2012.

99 percent of digital music downloaded in China is pirated, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

As of 2012, China has nearly twice as many Internet users as the United States, yet its digital music revenue per user is about 1 percent of the United States.

Source:  AFP, “Asia’s digital divide poses challenge for music industry,” Google News, June 21, 2012.