7/22/13: Analyzing Apple's streaming play in light of falling download sales

Paul Maloney
July 22, 2013 - 12:55pm

Nielsen reported last week U.S. music download sales for the first six months of this year are off slightly (2.3%) from what they were at the same point last year. However, streaming music volume is up 24% over the same period, however. (Nielsen's report summary is here.)

Sources like GigaOm say this data indicates a trend, and is exactly why Apple is launching iTunes Radio.

"Attitudes toward music ownership have shifted drastically over the last few years. And (the Nielsen report)... makes it very clear why Apple, which upended the music business a decade ago with its iTunes Music Store, had to start its own streaming music service," wrote GigaOm.

Interestingly, it was GigaOm itself, in an earlier analysis, that suggested Apple's move may be more than just jumping on the streaming bandwagon. We reported in April (here) on GigaOm's suggestion that Apple's iTunes Radio launch isn't necessarily designed to compete with Pandora, but to bolster its music sales business.

Author Janko Roettgers wrote in the earlier GigaOm piece, "The goal is not to kill Pandora, but to actually bring that type of radio service to more users, and keep them from switching to a full-blown access model," like Spotify.

This seems to be what Wall St. Cheat Sheet sees as well. Apple's "market dominance bodes well for the success of iTunes Radio since Apple has created a strong link between its music streaming service and the iTunes Store," it wrote.

Read GigaOm here, and Wall St. Cheat Sheet here.

Paul Maloney
July 22, 2013 - 12:55pm

Interactive Advertising Bureau research shows "regular skincare and suntan lotion buyers" are "much more inclined to engage in online and mobile activities than the average adult."

More than that, this target group outpaced the overall U.S. adults 18+ group 55% to 25% for Internet radio listening.

The IAB found skincare enthusiasts are heavier mobile app users than the typical population. In the study, 76% purchased mobile apps, versus just 57% of the general population. Entertainment apps were most popular (72% among frequent skincare buyers vs. 56% for average adults).

See more from the IAB here. H/t to Inside Radio for this story.

Paul Maloney
July 22, 2013 - 12:55pm

Rhapsody's new update to its Apple mobile app is focused on "lean back" listening and print content that "bring(s) the full editorial experience to iOS devices," the company announced. 

Rhapsody editors curate both playlists and extra content like new artist recommendations, album reviews, artist interviews, and videos.

"We guide listeners through that massive catalog by introducing them to new music and old favorites via curated editorial programming. It's like the difference between shopping at Nordstrom versus Costco," said Brendan Benzing, general manager, Americas, Rhapsody.

Rhapsody redesigned the app's look and navigation, upgraded album and artist pages, and added new full-screen play and pop-up menus to add, download, queue, or "favorite" tracks and albums.