Contrary to the insistence of media analysts, music piracy in Australia is not endemic, and streaming music services have contributed to stemming that flow — that's the claim made by Spotify Australian chief Kate Vale, whose company is finishing up a project on Spotify's impact on Australian piracy.
Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Vale "hit back" at claims from APRA AMCOS analyst Andrew Harris that despite the availability and ubiquity of music streaming services, piracy levels had not dropped in recent years.
She said that Spotify's anecdotal evidence, separately from the project the company is undertaking to demonstrate its two years' experience in Australia, was that even the teenage demographic, who have never bought music before, are contributing to musicians' royalties and industry wages through their use of Spotify's free tier:
“We do believe that access, availability and price does contribute and is the answer and we have proven this in other markets across Europe and particularly in Sweden where we have seen a 30 per cent reduction in piracy since we launched about six years ago. If you look at the main audience that is on Spotify, a lot of them are former pirates... If we can get them on to a service that is free but legal, and they are contributing through our advertising on that free tier, then it is giving money back into the industry that they are just never going to get before.”
Spotify in Australia also apparently has a high rate of transition from free to paid subscriptions, beating the company's worldwide average. This suggests that at least for Spotify, any ongoing music piracy isn't having a detrimental impact on its business.
Spotify actually pushed a mandatory update to all its Android users this week, after a rogue piece of code allowed a security breach where apparently only a single user's account was compromised; any user who had offline playlists has to re-download all their synced files, as the update completely removes the old version and installs a new app in its place. [Australian Financial Review]