My girlfriend used to ask me to download music all the time. She’d ask: “Can you get me the new Fall Out Boy album?” or “Can you download that classic Michael Jackson song I love so much?”
But for some reason the requests have slowed to a halt. In fact she hasn’t asked me to illegally download music in months. Why? Has she simply stopped caring about music? Has she learned to do it on her own? Nope.
She started using legal services.
Grooveshark and YouTube
My girlfriend discovered Grooveshark and YouTube. Two simple services that could spell the end for filesharing. Well, not the end, but a huge slow down.
A simple Youtube search for a song will almost always bring up a high quality version of the music video (usually brought to you by Vevo) that you can play to your hearts content. Why illegally download the song and possibly face getting your butt sued off when you can listen to it legally?
If you don’t want to watch the video and just need some music to groove to while you study for that final (which is coming up in two days man, start studying) than you can use Grooveshark. It lets you make playlists of all your favourite songs and stream them for free. You can then use all that extra space on your harddrive for school work.
This doesn’t solve the issue of getting music onto an iPod though. To legally fill an iPod with songs you’d have to spend thousands of dollars on iTunes. But with services like Last.fm and Grooveshark getting iPhone apps, this may become the norm.
While it is hard to find accurate statistics that aren’t produced by either the pro- or con- filesharing groups, according to a survey by The Leading Edge, more and more people (especially teenagers) are making this switch.
From the survey: “In December 2007 22% (of respondent) regularly fileshared tracks, but in January 2009 this was down to 17%, a comparative drop of nearly a quarter.”
Movies and TV Shows
This shows a major drop in the piracy of music but what about the visual medium? Movies and TV shows?
Many people who pirate movies do so not because of the price but because of convenience. With heavy amounts of DRM on movies, it makes it hard for even technically savvy end users to put their media onto the devices they want. The iPad has a beautiful screen for movies, so why is so hard for me to get the movie from the DVD I just bought onto it? Pirating is a heck of a lot easier.
New services make that transference easy. Want to watch the new episode of Glee? Just head over to Hulu (or use the new Hulu app) and enjoy it. Want to watch the latest blockbuster? Stream it from Netflix.
And yet, instead of embracing these, a lot of companies seem to be trying to drive them out of business. Favouring old business models that haven’t worked since the Internet became popular in the 90’s.
Filesharing isn’t dead and people will continue to illegally download movies for years to come but it is slowing down. If companies wise up and start supporting these new services we may see a total change in the way the world consumes media.
How about you? Have you noticed that your technically non-savvy friends are downloading less, or do you use a service that you believe may cut into piracy? Sound off in our comments section.