The fight against music piracy has made strong gains in the past twelve months, but the battle is far from won. That’s the picture painted by an annual round-up of statistical data published by the British government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Since June 2014, 11 million visits to infringing websites have been diverted to an official police warning page, while over 4,500 pirate site domains suspended in the twelve month period between April 2014 and 2015, according to the IPO’s “Fast Facts 2015” document.
Nevertheless, the U.K. specific data reveals that last year 1.3 billion files were accessed illegally online. Over a smaller three month timeframe -- from March to May, 2015 -- pirate files accounted for 28 percent of all music consumed online, totaling an estimated 96 million tracks. It was a similar story in the film and TV industries, where infringing films accounted for 23 percent of all movies consumed online (around 12 million films) and infringing TV shows making up 14 percent (16 million programs).
According to research commissioned by the IPO, the most commonly cited reasons for accessing pirate material online were: because it is free (49 percent), convenient (43 percent) and quick (37 percent).
Despite these challenges, total employment in the creative economy -- a sector which includes the music industry - across the United Kingdom increased by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014, accounting for 2.8 million jobs. Within that category, the creative industries -- a government defined subset which includes creative and support jobs, for example a music company’s finance department -- accounted for 1.8 million jobs in 2014, which equates to over five percent of the total U.K. workforce.
U.K. exports from the creative industries enjoyed even greater gains in recent years, growing by 34 percent between 2009 and 2013 to total £4.5 billion ($7 billion).