Believe it or not, only 9% of Internet users in the US engage in peer-to-peer piracy. Well, only 9% of them admit it, anyway. According to Ars Technica, which cites data from market research firm NPD Group, the percentage of P2P pirates has fallen seven percentage points over the last three years.
Not only are fewer folks donning an eye patch when downloading, but those who continue to use P2P services are also downloading less. NPD says the average number of downloads per person fell from 35% in 2007 to just 18% at the end of last year. As Ars notes, though, the NPD Group focuses on music piracy and only tracks illegal downloads on peer-to-peer services.
The shutdown of LimeWire is being given some credit for the drop in P2P piracy, and I suspect some users are migrating to sites like RapidShare. However, the fact that the remaining P2P users are downloading less suggests that the demand for pirated music may be dwindling, at least in the US. Unlike even a few years ago, consumers can now download DRM-free music from a number of legitimate services. They can also pull up just about any song on YouTube for a quick listen. Maybe you can compete with free, after all.