Port Washington, N.Y. – Increasing adoption of smartphones by consumers, paired with growing options for mobile music consumption, has helped fuel an increase in the number of active mobile music consumers by almost 9 million in 2010, according to a report from market research firm NPD Group.

Mobile music listening increased from 12% of U.S. Web users in 2009 to 17% in 2010. NPD noted that the ability to stream, download or listen to music was the second most-used utility for iPhone and Android phone owners — ahead of even sending photos.

“The number of mobile music users is not only growing, but also includes more women and older listeners — beyond the avid, young, and typically male first adopters – and that means more opportunities to market a wider variety of music to more fans of all ages,” said NPD analyst Russ Crupnick.

The report found that the overwhelming majority of mobile music consumers are using free or ad-supported services, and 80% said that “what they get for free is good enough.”

“More than half of mobile music listeners currently prefer to listen to their own music, and most prefer free music to paying for it,” Crupnick added.

“That’s a challenge for paid services to create and offer the most incremental value, which will be critical for companies looking to supplement the ad-supported model.”


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