The world of downloads is no longer the same. In fact, it will never be as it was a few years ago. Who does not remember downloading that eMule song that we put on the loop. Or downloaded the latest episode of Lost from Megaupload the day after its preview.
Both new internet file storage servers and Google’s algorithms for finding unauthorized music or movies in the search engine make downloading files a headache for internet users. And to all this is added the most crucial change of the last decade: the foray of video on demand (VOD) platforms and their ease of access to content.
But the world of downloads isn’t quite over. There are still thousands of people who make it their way of life and consume free time. Be it series, music, movies or books. They are real download fanatics . And the truth is, neither Netflix nor Spotify will change their habits.
It is more complicated than before to download files
John (invented name to maintain privacy), a New York resident, has been downloading all kinds of content since 2008, when Megaupload, the popular file hosting service, was exploding. He says he noticed a paradigm shift on the Internet while searching for material. “It’s more complicated than before because now there is no longer a single source that gives you everything as Megaupload was in its day. Now you need to have many and varied resources available to always find what you need, ”he explains.
This young man mainly downloads movies on a regular basis via torrents. “I get the magnetic links through proxies from YIFY, Rarbg, The Pirate Bay or unauthorized torrent download websites. If I can’t find what I’m looking for in any of these ways, I go to specialized forums that usually upload files using Mega, the cloud hosting service, ”he adds.
He confesses that on some occasions recently, not being able to easily find files on the Internet, he has had to access dubious security portals. “Sometimes I’ve had to call up Google by clicking on pages and places I don’t really trust. And you take risks knowing I’m compromising my computer’s security,” he says. Something more and more common on the download pages.
However, John still uses VOD platforms. Subscriber to Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime. “They have the format of the old video rental shops, you browse their catalog every time you go to them is like walking through the shelves in search of titles to watch.
And I like to do that, but the problem is that I look for very specific titles when I consume movies on a daily basis and am not always willing to waste time browsing menus. You can combine both worlds and in fact it is the best option right now. VOD platforms have catalogs that are still far from being able to satisfy the demand of the specialized public ”, he comments.
The evolution of Internet downloads reflects the evolution of various communication technologies and protocols, as well as social uses. The most famous download systems are P2P, Torrent, direct download, etc. methods . and tools like eMule, Bittorrent or JDownloader.
Each model has had its period of greatest impact and use, but currently all continue to be used. Today, the wide range of mass storage services, such as MEGA or WeTransfer, allow direct download to account for a very large percentage of Internet downloads.
Marco, a resident of Rome, says he has downloaded files from the Internet since he was relatively young. “We can say that since I learned to do it, with Emule and Ares”, he says. “At that time I would have been about 12 years old. The reasons have always been a mixture of financial reasons and availability reasons. Before, movies and series took a while to come out on TV, for example, and some Japanese anime weren’t even there, “he says.
For a few years he only downloaded music. “I’m not convinced by platforms like Spotify that they lock you into an ecosystem. If I want to stop paying for the service, I’ll be out of music, not counting the savings it brings. Also, there are unofficial versions of songs or” remixes “that aren’t. there are, “he says. But how do you download the music now? “I do it from YouTube, through any browser extension that downloads the song in MP3 version. There are many. It’s a long process, yes, because I like having the music sorted and this method forces you to write the title, the artist, etc. Manually. I usually expect to have a lot of songs to download at the same time and spend an afternoon doing it, “he explains.
However, this man regularly uses Netflix or Disney + to watch movies and series and claims he totally convinced him. “They work very well, they can be shared among many people and it’s not that expensive and the products have even improved over time. In the golden age of series we live in, something like this is needed. But I still don’t see it for music, even if it could be to prove it ”, he concludes.
Luke, from London, is a fan of video games. Since childhood he has killed hours in front of the computer screen. But his portfolio never allowed him to buy the new titles that came out in stores like GAME. For him, downloading video games was the way to survive in digital life. “Since Steam, the popular video game platform, was created, prices have fortunately dropped. Also, there are usually some discounts on the platform. But for someone who spends the day playing like me, I can’t afford to buy them all, so I download them without authorization. “
The method of doing this is much more complicated than getting a movie or music album. Also, you put your computer’s security at risk by downloading .exe files that may contain viruses or trojans. “I use pages like SteamUnlocked or Russian sites like Xatab Repack to download game cracks . With this I avoid having to enter the licenses or keys required by the games.
Although he confesses that in this way, many give him problems when playing in the multiplayer version and that often those websites contained malicious files. “When I make more money than now, I hope to stop using these types of portals and legally buy video games. I love having game covers on my shelf. Plus, Steam has almost everything. While I don’t buy many games from there, I interact with the platform’s community almost every day. It’s like having what you want at your fingertips and not being able to reach it ”.
Is it getting harder and harder to download these files?
It is very difficult to estimate the volume of files available on the Internet. Although with the spectacular growth that occurs year after year in Internet content and traffic it would not be risky to assume that this volume is growing continuously.
The perception of greater difficulty in finding a certain type of content is certainly real and derived from the fact that the most used search engines, mainly Google, filter the results based on DMCA requests. They penalize this type of content in their research for relevance, relegating it to positions very far from the first.
It is not uncommon to see authorities shut down download portals every month. But the content is still in the cloud and what many internet users do is open proxies of blocked pages. This is a parallel server that acts as an intermediary between two computer systems, such as your computer or mobile browser, and the Internet itself. Thanks to this, you can access the blocked content as if it were a copy. There are other ways to avoid restrictions. In addition to the use of proxies, other mechanisms are used such as DNS servers that do not belong to Spanish Internet providers or browsing via VPN.
However platforms like Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Spotify, etc. facilitate multi-device access to a content catalog with good technical quality and affordable price.
The industry for the production and distribution of cultural content has understood that offering a good product in a simple way and at an affordable price is a more efficient and productive strategy than promoting mechanisms that persecute users. And this is a change in the right direction. Surely these platforms will keep a very high percentage of the distribution and consumption of these cultural goods, but it is very likely that other channels and even the world of downloads will continue. have a non-negligible presence in the years to come.