Philippines has 10th highest BitTorrent downloads in the world — report

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines ranks tenth in the world when it comes to the number of BitTorrent downloads originating from the country, with pop act Maroon 5 coming out as the most downloaded artist by Pinoys, a newly released report revealed Wednesday.

According to the Digital Music Index put out by music analytics firm Musicmetric, as much as 8.3 million BitTorrent downloads originated from the Philippines for the first half of 2012, while global figures amount to more than 405 million.

BitTorrent is a popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used for distribution of files over the Internet, including music and film content. The study, however, covers data about music downloads only, and does not distinguish between legal and illegal file-sharing.

“Data such as this allows the music industry to better understand its customers,” Musicmetric said, “resulting in the opportunity to capitalize on this engagement and ultimately generate increased sales, new revenue opportunities and more efficient marketing campaigns.”

The study, which according to its website analyzes “the trends and preferences of millions of music fans across the globe” to help the music industry pinpoint how fans consume music through various online channels, covers around 750,000 artists around the world.

It came as no surprise, therefore, that American pop-rock act Maroon 5 turned out to be the most downloaded artist in the Philippines, with their hit single “Payphone” being downloaded about 40,000 times during the period.

The band, headlined by frontman Adam Levine, recently flew to the Philippines to perform for Filipino fans in a jampacked Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Musicmetric said analyzing BitTorrent consumption behavior among worldwide Internet users provides an “interesting indicator” about the power of the peer distribution network.

The study said BitTorrent networks are increasingly becoming preferred venues for music distribution and consumption, as evidenced by some recent successes with the network.

Maroon 5: the most downloaded music artist in the Philippines. Reuters file photo

“[For example], The Cardigan EP by Billy Van is the No 1 torrent being downloaded in 5 of the top 20 countries by downloads,” it said. “This is noteworthy because ‘The Cardigan’ has the rare distinction of being licensed for distribution via the BitTorrent network.”

In some territories, the Billy Van EP is said to have passed “other illegal content in a quarter of the top 20 countries for downloads.”

But while BitTorrent networks are slowly proving worth in digital distribution of content, law enforcement agencies have started cracking down on websites hosting BitTorrent files, among other online download venues.

Early this year, one of the highly publicized raids involved the hugely popular file-hosting site Megaupload, with its founder Kim Dotcom now facing trial in the US.

In the Philippines, a bill has recently been filed in Congress aimed at curbing online piracy while imposing a hefty fine of up to P1 million for convicted offenders.