As promised, Spotify has released research proving that the popular music streaming platform has had a large effect on music piracy rates in Australia. Spotify released the research results following comments made by those arguing for tougher penalties for downloaders, comments that suggested that legal options like Spotify has done little to combat music piracy.
Andrew Harris, an analyst for Australian royalty collection agency APRA AMCOS, made the suggestion back in May in his op-ed calling for government action on the issue of piracy.
"In fact, results last month from our ongoing national research show that music piracy levels – just as they were almost two years ago – still sit at around the same level as that of movies and television shows," Harris said at the time.
Spotify countered those claims back then, promising to release data that shows the opposite. And this week, at the BIGSOUND music conference, Spotify's Director of Economics Will Page delivered on this promise.
"It's exciting to see that we are making inroads into reducing the music piracy problem within such a short space of time in this market," says Page, before adding, "It shows the scope for superior legal services to help improve the climate for copyright online."
Spotify's research seem to show that lack of legal access and availability are key drivers behind music piracy in Australia, with piracy rates dropping by as much as 20% in just a single year since Spotify's release. An initial increase in piracy following Spotify's initial release (shown in the graph below) was down to the relatively slow organic adoption of Spotify by Australian music lovers, but once the word got out, piracy has declined steadily since.
Page however did not rule out governmental action on fighting piracy.
"The downward trend in piracy volume and population suggests superior music legal services like Spotify are making a positive impact, and this has proven to be the case in Scandinavia, but it will take both carrots and sticks to turn the market around," says Page.