YouTube to MP3: The Biggest Threat to the Music Industry

Written by frtyfve Team

A new report has illustrated the ongoing threat of stream ripping to the music industry

According to a new report from The Independent, a third of 16-24-year-olds in the UK have illegally ripped music from YouTube for personal or monetised use. A number of websites, including the notorious ‘YouTube-mp3’ have been closed down after mounting pressure from the industry.

“Stream ripping” is an industry pain point that has been debated for years and despite increased attention to the issue and the rise of legal streaming services, artists are still taking the hit from its widespread use.

In conversation with The Independent, Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI (British Phonographic Industry) said: “Although coordinated action by the record industry is delivering results, with major platforms like YouTube-mp3 closed down, we must continue to act against illegal sites that build huge fortunes by ripping off artists and labels.”

Websites like youtube-mp3 receive more than 60 million unique users per month and allow users to download the audio from YouTube videos, without consent from the copyright holder. Whilst users do not pay to use these sites, most host display advertising and thus enjoy lucrative profits.

“We hope that responsible advertisers, search engines and hosting providers will also reflect on the ethics of supporting sites that enrich themselves by defrauding creators,” said Geoff Taylor.

YouTube has been actively tackling copyright infringement on its platform. This year, the video giant announced that credits and information would be added to music videos and fan-uploaded content that features recorded music. It’s Music In This Video feature added credits to 500m videos on day one, with more continuing to be added in an ongoing process.

With legal streaming services including Spotify offering an affordable way to consume music, the pressure is now mounting on YouTube and regulators to tackle “stream ripping”. A YouTube spokesperson told The Independent that the company is already taking appropriate action against “stream ripping” sites:

“Our terms of service prohibit the downloading or copying of videos on YouTube without explicit consent from the copyright holder,” the spokesperson said. “Once notified of an infringing tool, or service that allows the downloading of a YouTube video without permission from the content owner we take appropriate action.”

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