Home All Stories Research: digital music is led by Apple and Pandora

Research: digital music is led by Apple and Pandora


When it comes to digital music, Apple and Pandora are the market leaders in their respective sectors, according to a new report from the NPD Group.

Apple is far ahead of any other paid music download service, with a 64 percent share of the market in the second quarter of 2012. Amazon MP3 Store comes a distant second with 16 percent, and no other purveyor of paid downloads exceeds 5 percent. In fact, Google Play, eMusic, Zune Music Pass and all of the others combined only account for 20 percent. (The chart below illustrates this.)

The study found that about a fifth of all Internet users were aware of Google Play, but NPD expects it to grow, driven by Android’s market penetration, and Google Music’s integration with Google Play and Google Books.

Far more Internet users – 50 percent – were aware of Pandora’s free ad-supported radio service, and a third of them also knew that Pandora offered a paid subscription service.

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio had 25 percent consumer awareness, followed by Spotify with 19 percent.

Awareness levels aren’t proportional with usage rates, however. Half of those who knew about Pandora had actually used it during Q2 2012, while only a quarter of those who had heard of iHeartRadio or Spotify had used them.

Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group, pointed out that 64 percent of paying iTunes customers also listened to online radio.

“The rising popularity of online radio helps explain Apple’s rumored interest in streaming radio,” he said. “As listening migrates from downloads on laptops to streams on phones and tablets, it would make sense for iTunes to offer customers the same integrated experience they have been known for by adding a streaming capability.”

Related link:

NPD Group – media summary

Photo of the precedent-setting Diamond Rio PMP300 by Flickr user nrkbeta, used under Creative Commons license