Spanish labels’ body Promusicae president Antonio Guisasola has accused the new socialist government of not including the problem of digital piracy in its agenda, despite the fact that Spain is “again on the blacklist” of countries that do little to fight rampant piracy.
“Last year there were 1.2 billion illegal P2P track downloads [up from 800 million in 2006], compared to the just 17 million legal track and 30 million CD downloads,” Guisasola said when presenting a GfK Emer Ad Hoc Research report on “Youth, Music and Piracy in Spain”.
For the report — commissioned by IFPI affiliate Promusicae — GfK studied two 15-strong groups, one of schoolchildren aged 15-17, and another of university students between 18 and 24.
“It could mean having to take unpopular measures, but if the government does nothing [to combat digital piracy], this year we could reach 1.8 billion illegal track downloads [in Spain],” Guisasola said.
Prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government took office one month ago after holding on to power in March elections. Guisasola urged Zapatero to “copy” the French model proposed by president Nicolas Sarkozy, which would see digital pirates being disconnected from Internet services after two warnings. Similar proposed have been made by the British government.
GfK found that “listening to music” was a priority for both youth groups, but that P2P file-sharing was considered normal. The report said fans know that it is illegal and “harms artists”, but justified free downloading because of the “high price” of music, and because the “mere existence of free P2P programs and their open use” justified the practice in itself.
The IFPI has made simultaneous studies in seven other territories – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden – and GfK concludes that “in Spain, the majority sensation is one of impunity”. Most Spanish music consumers think that record shops are for “freaks” only because physical CDs are viewed as “old fashioned or obsolete”.
Promusicae’s report claims that “this means the step from physical to digital hardware is almost complete, and this fact linked to the scarce development of a legal digital market, provokes a greater use than in other countries of illegal methods to access music”.
Spain’s online music sales were the lowest among Europe’s top five markets, at just under 1% of total sales in 2007. Mobile phone sales accounted for 4.3% of total sales, meaning the overall legal digital market represented barely 5.3% of all recorded music sales.