Theft is an estimation of demand.
Despite the fact that content providers have made it easier and more affordable to consume content online, primarily through streaming, people still steal stuff on the Internet because it’s easy and it feels free. “Everyone is doing it.”
But mass consumption means a lot of the stuff that gets stolen also gets trashed or ignored.
Value resides in the stuff worth keeping.
The paradox of free is a devaluation of the product. The product is just the marketing vehicle for upselling other stuff (events, tickets, merchandise, etc); basically the stuff that’s tangible and much harder to steal.
Free is a large market that creates other sales opportunities. The paid market is much harder to convert.