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Norway Has Figured Out How To Solve The Problem Of Music Piracy

Johnny Depp pirateWalt Disney Pictures

New data from Norway reveals that music piracy has completely collapsed in the country. Music Business Worldwide is reporting that the country has hit upon a way to rely on streaming to encourage residents to enjoy music legally.

A new music industry survey asked people under 30 in Norway whether they illegally download music online. The study, carried out by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, revealed that there had been a substantial drop in the number of young Norwegian people illegally downloading content.

Norway music download surveyMusic Business Worldwide

In five years, the number of people admitting to illegally downloading files online has gone from 80% of survey respondents to just 4%. The survey also revealed that less than 1% of young people in Norway said illegal downloads were their main source of music.

The IFPI is, predictably, pleased with the result. “In the past five years, we have virtually eliminated the illegal file-sharing of music,” said Marte Thorsby of IFPI Norge.

These numbers aren’t a surprise — Norway has worked for years to reduce the number of residents engaging in piracy. An Ipsos survey from 2013 revealed a continuing decline in the amount of pirated music in Norway.

Piracy in norway 2008 2012Digital Trends/Ipsos

So how is Norway managing to buck the trend and reduce the levels of piracy? Simple: Most people in Norway use streaming services instead of buying music.

Digital music is dominant in Norway, the IFPI says. That’s not unusual, but it’s the popularity of streaming services that seems to have caused the decline in piracy.

Digital music NorwayMusic Norway/IFPI

The IFPI says that income from streaming sites in Norway increased 60% from 2012 to 2013, and streaming accounts for 65% of Norway’s music market. That’s a big difference from other countries. The IFPI estimates that 27% of global digital music revenue comes from streaming services.

Streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and WiMP are big business in Norway, and the IFPI credits these companies with reducing piracy. “We are now offering services that are both better and more user-friendly than illegal platforms,” Thorge said.

Piracy is such a non-issue in Norway that police barely have to do anything about it. As Torrent Freak points out, the country hasn’t been cracking down on filesharers in the way the US and UK have been. In fact, nobody in the country has been prosecuted for illegally downloading music, and no piracy sites are blocked by the country’s internet service providers.

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