UK stream ripping dips following BPI geo-block of YouTube-mp3 site

Total traffic to stream ripping sites has fallen by nearly a fifth (17%) in the UK

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Further to today’s joint announcement by IFPI, RIAA and BPI that will shut down globally following legal action from US and UK record companies, the BPI can reveal that legal action taken in Autumn 2016 had already helped to reduce the problem of stream ripping in the UK. 

Stream ripping is a highly prevalent form of online music piracy, enabling users to illegally ‘rip’ streamed content from YouTube and make downloadable audio files. ] According to IFPI/Ipsos research nearly a third (32%) of all 16–24 year-olds in the UK engage in stream ripping. was the most popular stream ripping site in the world, with around 60 million global users, of which 2 million were in the UK.

In September 2016, in parallel with legal proceedings being issued in the US, the BPI wrote to in Germany explaining that the site was infringing UK sound recordings on a huge scale, and warned the site that UK legal action would be taken unless it immediately ceased its infringement.  

As a result of this pressure and subsequent meetings with YouTube-mp3-org’s lawyers, in October 2016 the site agreed to geo-block the conversion of streams into downloads for UK visitors. This led to a significant reduction in UK traffic to the site. Data from online analytics company ComScore shows that the number of UK visitors to decreased by 70 per cent between September 2016 (the month before the initial action came into effect) and June 2017. This has contributed to an encouraging overall drop in UK visitor traffic to stream ripping sites more generally, with the total number of UK visitors over the same period coming down by nearly a fifth (17%).

A recent joint study by PRS for Music and the IPO published in July 20173, put the scale of the problem in sharp relief, finding that stream ripping in the UK rose by 141 per cent between 2014 and 2016. However, this data reflects the period broadly prior to the BPI’s action against and, following the BPI’s action in coordination with IFPI and RIAA, levels of stream ripping in the UK appear to have fallen.


This illegal site wasn’t just ripping streams, it was ripping off artists. Most fans understand that buying or streaming music legally is fair to the artists they love and allows labels to nurture the next generation of talent. Music stands on the cusp of an exciting future in the streaming age, but only if we take resolute action against illegal businesses that try to siphon away its value. The firm action we have taken, led by our General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead and our Content Protection team, has made an impact in the UK, and we are determined to take further action as necessary against other stream ripping sites to protect the rights of musicians and labels.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI


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About the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) Promoting British Music

The BPI is a record labels’ association that promotes British music and champions the UK’s recorded music industry – the world’s third largest. The BPI also safeguards the rights of its members and of all the artists, performers and record label members of PPL, who collectively create around 99 per cent of all legitimate sales and streams of music in the UK. The BPI’s membership consists of over 400 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘major’ companies, which together account for over 80 per cent of domestic music consumption | Twitter @bpi_music

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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