Study Shows Limewire Demise Cut Music Piracy
A new NPD study shows the percentage of U.S. internet users that used P2P to download music fell from 16% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to just 9% in the Q4 2010 when Limewire ceased its file-sharing operations. The average number of music files downloaded from P2P networks also declined dramatically as well. The stats:
On average, 35 tracks per person were downloaded in Q4 2007; and that fell to just 18 tracks in Q4 2010. (Some users downloaded just one or two tracks, while others took hundreds.) NPD estimates there were 16 million P2P users downloading music in Q4 2010, which is 12 million fewer than in Q4 2007.
The decline was spread over the period and other factors beyond Limewire's demise contributed, but they were the dominate facotr. According to NPD, Limewire was used by 56% of those using P2P services to download music in Q3 2010, but fell to 32% percent in Q4 2010. Frostwire was used by 10% of those sharing music files in Q3 2010, increasing to 21% in Q4 2010. Bittorrent client u-Torrent increased from 8% to 12% in the same time period.
"Limewire was so popular for music file trading, and for so long, that its closure has had a powerful and immediate effect on the number of people downloading music files from peer-to-peer services and curtailed the amount being swapped," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. "In the past, we've noted that hard-core peer-to-peer users would quickly move to other Web sites that offered illegal music file sharing. It will be interesting to see if services like Frostwire and Bittorrent take up the slack left by Limewire, or if peer-to-peer music downloaders instead move on to other modes of acquiring or listening to music."