Stream ripping research 2014 - 2016

While the music industry has long been aware of the emergence of stream-ripping services, in 2016 too little research had been conducted into understanding how they function, their business models and the reasons consumers choose to use them. This first wave of research, undertaken in conjunction with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) between 2014 and 2016, began to fill that void, in order to educate the industry and policymakers alike.

What is ‘stream-ripping’?

Stream-ripping is the obtaining of a permanent copy of content that is streamed online. The process can be carried out on audio and audio-visual content and, in either case, it is possible to create an audio-only copy of the music. Once a copy is created and saved, it is possible for a user to listen to it offline and share it between their devices.

Our key findings

  • In nearly two years (Jan 2014 – September 2016), the use of stream-ripping services increased by 141.3%, dwarfing the growth seen for other types of music-specific infringing sites.
  • In the time period of just one month, the use of stream ripping sites made up the majority (68.2%) of the total usage across the 50 most popular music-only infringing sites.
  • Advertising is the main funding model associated with stream-ripping services.
  • YouTube is by far the most popular source of content for stream-ripping services (used by 75 of the 80 services surveyed).
  • 57% of those UK adults surveyed claimed to be aware of stream-ripping services.
  • Those who claimed to have used a stream-ripping service were significantly more likely to be male, ABC1 social grade, and between the ages of 16 to 34 years.
  • Within the reasons driving stream-ripping the most common response was that the music was already owned in another format (31%), with wanting to listen to music offline (26%) and on the move (25%) the next most commonly given responses. Unaffordability (21%) and feeling official content is overpriced (20%) coming in after these reasons.
Stream-ripping Growth Infographic
Stream-ripping usage infographic
Stream-ripping Awareness Infographic
Stream-ripping perception infographic
switching account

Switching your account...