New data from a recent study indicates that half of all internet users ages 16 to 24 use stream ripping websites to acquire music for downloading purposes. The study indicates that the practice of stream ripping is now greater in volume than the use of torrent and other piracy sites.
The study by the market research group Ipsos, commissioned by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has found a 41 percent increase in the use of stream ripping sites by internet users aged 16 to 24 in the past year, with 49 percent of all internet users in that age group having utilized that method of attaining music for download.
Stream ripping involves the user copying and pasting the URL of a particular YouTube, SoundCloud, Mixcloud or other such video or audio track into one of the various stream ripping websites, such as YouTube-mp3.org and TubeNinja.
The sites then convert the data into an Mp3, which can be downloaded by the user and then added to his or her permanent music collection. Many of the stream ripping websites also offer extensions that work directly in user's browsers, as well as downloadable programs for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac that perform a similar function.
The study indicates that young persons are the biggest users of stream ripping technology, while 30 percent of web users engage in the practice, a 10 percent increase over last year's number of older users.
The data contradicts recent reports that young music fans are turning away from the practice of permanently downloading song files into their music libraries and instead turning to the use of streaming services to listen to their favorite tunes.
It appears as if the data indicating that youngsters are purchasing less downloads may be the result of an increase use of stream ripping rather than actually purchasing the songs.
If a full half of web users aged 16 to 24 are familiar enough with the practice to have actually used it, it stands to reason that many if not most of them are doing so on a regular basis, perhaps not ever purchasing songs for download at all, once they have been shown how to utilize the stream ripping technology.
YouTube and Google have attempted to crack down on the process by sending letters to several stream ripping sites demanding that they disable their downloading capabilities, but little has actually been achieved in preventing the practice, thus its rapid growth in use.
It seems likely that the major record labels will use the results of this study to put more pressure on Google and YouTube to eliminate stream ripping, or make it more difficult by no longer offering extensions compatible with the Chrome browser, for example.