Almost 25% of CDs sold on Amazon could be counterfeit

A picture of a CD pressing machine
(Image credit: Getty)

A new report on piracy within the music industry reveals that up to 25% of CDs sold on Amazon could be counterfeit.

The research was carried out by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) for a report by the Wall Street Journal. They bought 194 CDs from Amazon, nearly a quarter of which turned out to be fake.

America’s indie label trade group A2IM recently alerted members to this trend. The journal reports that, while bootleg CDs are nothing new, seeing them sold alongside genuine products by legitimate retailers is yet another blow to the already struggling music industry.

Customers see the CDs alongside official releases and assume they are getting the real thing rather than a bootleg.

The Journal reports that some of the bootleggers even use Amazon’s fulfilment services, so that fake CDs arrive in Amazon packaging. It can often be hard for even record label staff to tell the difference and customers may have no idea the artists have not ended up with any of the money they spent on the CD.

The RIAA’s Brad Buckles says: “Amazon should not be playing host to illegal items that would normally be found on the black market.”

It is understood that the pirates get their product on sale within weeks of the official release and sell them for a few cents cheaper.

The RIAA research uncovered 44 of the 194 CDs they bought were fake, with 18 of those orders fulfilled by Amazon itself.

An Amazon spokesperson says the company has “zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits” and that it was “working closely with labels and distributors to identify offenders, and remove fraudulent items from our catalogue. We are also taking action and aggressively pursuing bad actors”.

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.