The 20 Most Pirated Musicians of 2013


Daft Punk, Kanye WestJay Z, and Drake were among the artists whose music was most illegally downloaded in 2013, according to new statistics released from music analytics firm Musicmetric.

Bruno Mars and Rihanna topped this year’s list: Mars’ singles were downloaded via BitTorrent 5,783,556 times, while Rihanna’s were jacked 5,414,166 times.

Daft Punk was the third most pirated act with over a million fewer downloads than RiRi. Justin Timberlake and – wait for it – Flo Rida round out the top five with over 3.4 million downloads each. Kanye West, Eminem, Jay Z, and Drake (in that order) fill up the next four spots ahead of Pitbull at number 10, each with between 3.1 and 3.2 million downloads.

It’s interesting to note that half of the acts on the list, including Mars and Rihanna, didn’t release records in 2013. (Linkin Park, #18, released a remix collection; if you exclude that from contention, it’s more than half.) Singles, guest spots, and feature appearances all get tallied in Musicmetric’s data collection, however, which goes some length in explaining the phenomenon. Pharrell Williams, for example, likely rode the wave of “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” into the number 19 spot.

Whatever the case, Musicmetric CEO/cofounder Gregory Mead sees value in the data, despite its illegal origins. “Of course we don’t condone piracy, but what is clear is that Bit Torrent data offers a granular insight into a band’s fan engagement,” Mead said. “You can see where people live and if you know where your fans are, you can plan a tour and engage with them.”

We already know Iron Maiden has parlayed that advice into some profitable tours, so who on this list is next?

Most Pirated Acts of 2013 (number of downloads):
01. Bruno Mars – 5,783,556
02. Rihanna – 5,414,166
03. Daft Punk – 4,212,361
04. Justin Timberlake – 3,930,185
05. Flo Rida – 3,470,825
06. Kanye West – 3,199,969
07. Eminem – 3,176,122
08. Jay Z – 3,171,358
09. Drake – 3,139,408
10. Pitbull – 3,138,308
11. One Direction – 2,920,445
12. Maroon 5 – 2,857,652
13. Zedd – 2,828,764
14. Nicki Minaj – 2,681,177
15. Adele – 2,594,275
16. Avicii – 2,562,151
17. David Guetta – 2,441,235
18. Linkin Park – 2,352,385
19. Pharrell Williams – 2,336,996
20. Katy Perry – 2,318,740


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