Fans of music have it pretty good on YouTube. It is possible to view and/or listen to your favorite tracks in the studio and live, and unlike a streaming service like Spotify, it is free. While ad revenue can be made, the music industry has an uneasy relationship with YouTube. In terms of YouTube downloaders, record companies have been much less tolerant.
MP3 conversion tools essentially allow users to turn YouTube videos into MP3 music files. Yes, this means free, albeit illegal, music. Record companies have gone after developers behind such tools aggressively. It seems the war has paid off as some MP3 conversion tools folded this past week.
Legal pressure seems to be the cause of the closures. Pickvideo.net says it is shuttering after receiving a cease and desist order. Video-download.co and EasyLoad.co are also closing, citing the YouTube-MP3 legal action as the reason.
The music industry has been clear in stating MP3 conversion tools are a bigger threat than torrents. Major regulatory bodies like the IFPI, RIAA, and BPIhave gone after YouTube-MP3, the largest MP3 ripping site. That case resulted in a settlement when the website agreed to shut its doors.
If the biggest developer, which enjoyed one-million daily visitors, was closed to close, what about smaller companies? The last week has provided an answer as many smaller providers have closed. The music industry is enjoying a major victory in its battle against piracy.
Of course, these kinds of victories have also occurred against torrent websites like Pirate Bay. As we have seen in those cases, websites have a habit of cropping back up under a different name or hosted in a country that is more tolerant of piracy.
Whether websites like Pick-Video will return in one guise or another remains to be seen.
In May, YouTube announced its own music streaming service.