Piracy is everywhere. The Internet and BitTorrent in particular have made the downloading of music, movies, and games extremely easy. Some people pirate more than others, and that’s worth studying. It could give musicians a good idea of who’s pirating their stuff the most so they can wisely market more to them, or unwisely sue them.
British data tracking firm Musicmetric took on the massive task of tracking BitTorrent traffic across the United States. It was found that Gainesville, Fla is the pirate capital of the US. The study focuses solely on music downloads, but the results would probably be similar if they included movies.
Other cities rounding out the top five pirate centers of the country include Albany, GA, Fairbanks, AK, and our own Lexington, KY. It seems a little strange that smaller cities like these are pirate havens, but they all have one very important thing in common – they’re all university towns. It’s been a long standing assumption that college age students pirate more than anybody else.
These cities may be contributing the most to music piracy, but there are a number of metro areas including the usual suspects like New York City and Los Angeles that are contributing as well. All of these cities combined download 97 million BitTorrent files. The research indicates that 78 percent of said files were albums while 22 percent were individual songs. If you assume that the average album has 10 songs, the number of songs downloaded reaches 759 million.
The research obviously says something about the widespread influence of piracy in younger generations. All of my classmates, dorm mates and everybody else I knew in college pirated music at some point. It’s just part of the college experience. That’s beginning to change thanks to services like Spotify, but piracy is still used mostly by the young.
If music execs want to stop piracy, they’re going to have to start talking on their level. The youth, especially in college, aren’t stupid. They know a rotten deal when they see one and the preferred method of marketing music is rotten. That’s why Spotify has taken off among college students. It’s convenient and cheap. Record labels need to offer more services like Spotify if they want to survive.