Market research group NPD has released on update to its Music Acquisition Monitor survey, and finds that the number of U.S. Internet users getting music via peer-to-peer file sharing networks has reached an all time low. According to the figures, just nine percent of American Internet users got music via P2P services in the fourth quarter of 2010—that’s down from 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. And NPD doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that the decline in P2P music downloading corresponds to the court-ordered shutdown of LimeWire.
“LimeWire was so popular for music file trading, and for so long, that its closure has had a powerful and immediate effect on the number of people downloading music files from peer-to-peer services and curtailed the amount being swapped,” said NPD entertainment industry analyst Russ Crupnick, in a statement.
According to NPD, during the third quarter of 2010, LimeWire users accounted for some 56 percent of American Internet users tapping into P2P music services to download music. That number dropped to 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010—and then LimeWire was shut down in October. However, some P2P users seem to have shifted to other services: FrostWire saw its share of the P2P music market jump from 10 percent in the third quarter to 21 percent in the fourth quarter, while the BitTorrent client u_torrent jumped from 8 percent to 12 percent in the same period.
NPD also finds that P2P music downloads are grabbing less material these days, with an average of 18 tracks per person during the fourth quarter of 2010. That’s down from 35 tracks per person in the fourth quarter of 2007.
According to NPD’s Music Acquisition Monitor, the fourth quarter of 2007 was the high water mark for folks getting music via P2P services: NPD estimates some 28 million American Internet users were tapping P2P services in the fourth quarter of 2007; that dropped to 16 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.