Time-spent in music apps is up 79% since last year, outpacing social networking
Despite the popularity of streaming music services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, and Beats Music, many have questioned the sustainability of the entire enterprise. The two biggest players are Pandora, which is barely (and not consistently) profitable, and Spotify, which has never turned a profit a day in its life.
It's possible that streaming music services will becomes a loss leader for giant companies like Apple or Google, but the Spotifys and Rdios of the world are instead banking on the fact that streaming music is poised to experience huge growth, particularly on a global scale. And in addition to gaining users, the more time these users spend listening to music in the app, the more revenue it creates for musicians.
So the following statistics provided to Quartz by Localytics should come as good news for all stakeholders in the music industry -- on both the creative side and the software side.
Between August 2013 and today, the average time spent in music apps has risen 79 percent. That puts it ahead of categories like "Health and Fitness" (51 percent) and "Social Networking" (49 percent). The worst-improved apps, unfortunately, were "News" apps where time spent only increased by 14 percent.
While significant, the increase in music app usage shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The share of total music revenue generated by streaming is rising fast as it continues to supplant digital downloads from iTunes and elsewhere.
And not only have music apps experienced huge growth -- They also outpace the other categories in terms of sheer usage, with listeners spending an average of 8.9 minutes per session and launching the app 16.3 times per month. That totals 145 minutes, which is way ahead of even social networking at around 63 minutes per month.
The huge growth combined with the high aggregate usage counts is all good news for the music industry, signaling that while the revenue may never reach the heights notched by the bloated CD era, it will bounce back. Now as for whether that extra revenue will make a significant impact on the lives of the artists making all this music? That's for another piece.
[illustration by Brad Jonas]