Spotify Is Killing Piracy (in Sweden, at Least)

There are four times as many people using the streaming service than downloading files

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Spotify is increasingly looking like a winning strategy for record companies trying to fight piracy. A new industry survey from Sweden where Spotify started reports that the rise of the streaming music service has coincided with a 25 percent drop in people stealing music over the past two years. In fact, streaming services are the most popular way for Swedes to consume music with over 40 percent of people surveyed admitting to using a streaming service versus less than 10 percent who confess to pirating. This is good news for the company that's always billed itself to record companies and consumers alike as an alternative to stealing.

Spotify investor and Napster co-founder Sean Parker must be thrilled. After the unveiling of a close partnership between Spotify and Facebook at the f8 developers conference, Parker admitted that Spotify is carrying out his original vision for Napster. "This is actually very similar to what I dreamt of 10 years ago," said Parker. "We never really wanted to create a service to destroy the record business or hurt artists in any way. The goal was really to create a more frictionless system. We really believed we would succeed in striking deals with the record labels."

Parker's hindsight is 20/20. Commenting on the recent report from Sweden, the pirate-friendly blog TorrentFreak points out that the spike in popularity for streaming music is largely due to "the fact that legal services have become cheaper and simpler." With over two million people paying for the service, despite the free trial in the U.S., record companies are making money, and the future looks promising.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.