Among the reasons people are cutting back on sharing music illegally on peer-to-peer sites is that some have sated their need for songs, according to a NPD Group survey.
Russ Crupnick, a senior analyst with the research firm, said last week at the Digital Music East Forum that the company saw a 25 percent decline in illegal downloading in the United States via P2P sites during 2009.
"You have a lot of people who have built up their collections," Crupnick said. "They are filled up with both paid music and unpaid and it is something like 'I found all the important stuff I wanted, all the Japanese stuff or concert stuff. I'm happy with the collections I've accumulated.' This cuts into need."
All the nasty malware and viruses that one can get at some P2P sites is the No. 1 reason why music fans say they helped themselves to fewer unauthorized songs. Other reasons for the decline can be traced to the rise of ad-supported music services, such as Pandora, Spotify, and Vevo, Crupnick said. These sites offer songs to users free of charge and support themselves at least in part by selling advertisements on the site.
Interestingly, the No. 2 reason that those surveyed by NPD was fear over getting sued by the music industry, which is hard to understand. The Recording Industry Association of America stopped suing individuals for copyright infringement in 2008 after spending the previous five years of taking file sharers to court. Crupnick said that "fear of lawsuits" is typically one of the reasons people give for not file sharing.
How about this: NPD also reported the music industry saw 24 million fewer legal music buyers in 2009. That number included 1 million fewer buyers of music downloads. So, this means that fewer people are interested in acquiring music through both legal and illegal means. Then what are they doing?
Maybe, they're logging on to Facebook, playing video games or maybe they're listening to the collections they've already acquired.