Is P2P Dying?

Do you download as much free music these days using P2P services?

Anecdotally, the number of people building their digital music collections using P2P appears to be shrinking – a development highlighted in a recent New York Times article.

It is a stark contrast to not that long ago when downloading free music was something done by many people, who never thought about the legal consequences. Even when the RIAA went on the warpath by suing people, it had little impact on how people behaved.

This trend, however, seems to be changing, and it strikes me as having a lot to do with availability. Rather than having to “own” a song or CD, a growing number of people are content to simply access what they want when they want using services such as Pandora, Songza, MySpace and Spotify.

Many of these services are free, allowing people to get a musical fix without having to dig in their pockets. Of course, if they like what they hear, there are lots of options – iTunes, etc. – to quickly make a digital purchase.

Stepping back from the fray, the apparent decline of music acquisition using P2P is stunning given it was so prolific anot that long ago. This isn’t to suggest the music industry will thrive again because the business models have clearly changed, and will continue to evolve.

That said, it is impressive to see how Spotify, a Swedish music streaming start-up that has taken Europe by storm, has become one of the hottest startups.

Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek hit the hammer on the nail when he told the NYT that:

“Piracy is essentially the consumer’s wish to have everything on demand. It’s not like people want to necessarily have it for free,” adding that piracy has thrived because due to the lack of services “that allowed people to discover new music and easily share music with friends.”

Are you still downloading music using P2P? If so, why?

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  • Crispin Heath

    Nope, Last FM, Blip and especially Spotify have filled the gap. I recently even signed up to premium at £9.95 to cut out the ads every 5 minutes. Just got to get myself on to the iPhone app. and I'll be sorted, I can choose betwen iTunes and Spotify.

  • Kelvin Kang

    I agree with Daniel Ek's comments – people are innovative and will develop new ways to solve their problems. Most adults use P2P not because they don't want to pay for the material but the current conventional means of provision don't meet their needs. Listening to music has gotten easier but outside of hulu, has that been much progress on the video front? I still see P2P thriving because of video.

  • Thomas Schinabeck

    I think p2p will further slow down with a rising performance of streaming services. In the future it´s not about owning stuff anymore… it´s about having access to things. So why should I store files on my HD when I have perfect conditions to reach a webserver even with my mobile device? It´s all about cloud computing in the future… so it is for the music. The "age of access" is coming soon…

  • Ron

    I currently and will continue to use P2P for a very simple reason: Music is my #1 love and I could never possibly afford all of the music I love.

  • Jamie from Ottawa

    P2P is an addictive relationship, and I am trying my best to ween myself off of it. Currently I rent dvd's through, and make an effort to buy a the CD of a lesser known music artist (discount on amazon of course), instead of downloading. I still however average between 1-5gb a month pirating the big name ("oooh the U2 discography prolly has a really good 'sunday bloody sunday', I grab it all").

    The threat of consequences are there, but I don't know anybody who has even been contacted due to their downloading. I am torn between stopping before I get caught, or downloading as much as I can before the gravy train runs dry.