Market Insight: Music Piracy in Switzerland

Market Insight: Music Piracy in Switzerland

Launched in May 2016, MUSO’s Market Insight Reports are providing the global content industry with never-before-seen granular detail on piracy audience behaviour. Crucially, we’re looking at audience behavior on a country-by-country level for all forms of online piracy, analyzing current trends and how they relate to each market.

For the first in an ongoing series of insights, we start by looking at the Swiss music market, and the implications the range of legal streaming services has had in diminishing piracy in recent times.

Nestled in the Alps, it’s easy to underestimate Switzerland’s music industry. However, according to IFPI, last year it was the 18th biggest in the world for recorded music, contributing a total of $114.3m to labels and artists. Digitally, Switzerland faces a highly competitive and saturated streaming market, as all the major streaming players are readily available for the Swiss audience.

Download Trends

From Spotify to Deezer, the Swiss have a multitude of legal services to choose from. In 2015, the market surged by 7%, a positive turn after the 3% drop in 2014. Similarly to most Western European countries, Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music are among the top streaming players in the country. While YouTube is popular in the nation, revenue from the ad-supported streaming video services was less than 1% of the market. Moreover, download revenue declined by 4% during the year.

Piracy Category Delivery Performance

These digital trends can be observed within Switzerland’s music piracy ecosystem. Presumably, due to Switzerland’s competitive streaming market, web-streaming factors only 18.7% of the music piracy market, closely tied to web downloads at 18.6%. Whereas illegal streaming is on a sharp decline (plummeting by 45.36% on desktop visits and 53.63% between the first to the last 6 months visits), web-downloads are incrementally raising. With the positive surge of revenue in streaming, it can be assumed that there has been a successful Swiss exodus towards legal streaming sites – the Swiss have been the most enthusiastic towards Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ tool. As for illegal web downloads, there has been a 20.8% shift towards mobile usage, yet the speed of this increment has been on the slower side, especially relative to the quick dip of streaming throughout the year.


The Swiss digital music piracy market is quite traditional. Despite the rise in mobile usage, the Swiss still use their desktop to quench their music piracy thirst. This orthodox usage is starkly represented in the popularity of torrents, with 45.9% of piracy, substantially above the global average (28.3%). With nearly all of Switzerland’s population connected to its reliable and fast internet (internet penetration is at 87.1%), it appears the Swiss enjoy permanent copies of their pirated music.

Despite its high torrent usage, Switzerland places itself far down the list from other significant global hotspots, 51st for total music piracy visits globally, burrowed between Azerbaijan and Lithuania. As such a wired country, it’ll be interesting to see how the Swiss transition away from illegal streaming into the legal territory and see which service they choose. Slowly and surely, the Swiss music market is reconnecting back to its audience.

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