When iTunes Radio was revealed, we were impressed by its sleek design, but that didn’t keep the tech industry from scratching its head and wondering why, almost five years after Spotify was launched, Apple would even pretend that releasing its own music service was remotely novel. Haters gonna hate, but that did nothing to stop iTunes Radio from succeeding. Recent data from Edison Research shows that, just six months after launch, iTunes Radio has beaten out Spotify as the third-most popular music streaming service in the U.S.
iTunes Radio More Popular than Spotify
It seems iTunes Radio has made a small name for itself since launching in September. 8% of Americans aged 12 and older listened to iTunes Radio in the past month, according to Statista using results from Edison Research’s survey of 2,023 people in January and February. Compare that to 9% of Americans who listened to the popular iHeartRadio service, as you can see in the chart above. Pandora still reigns in online music streaming, with 31% of Americans having listened to it in the past month.
It’s important to note that the survey only asked whether users had listened to certain services in the past month, not how much time they spent listening. In this sense the survey is more indicative of which services have the biggest names but not necessarily which are the biggest sources of users’ streamed music.
Spotify, which had just 6% of Americans listen during the past month, is still the leading on-demand music streaming service. In January Spotify lifted the time limit on music playback it used to place on free account holders, allowing users to listen to ad-supported streaming music from all of their devices.
Online Radio Gaining Prevalence
Edison Research also found that two-thirds of 18-34-year-olds listen to online radio every month, compared to 59% of 18-49-year-olds. Additionally, 53% of 18-34-year-olds listen to online radio every week.
As more services begin to compete for user traction in the already crowded music streaming sector, prices and features will hopefully become more varied. Beats Music, for one, presents a new take on the typical music recommendation services by offering playlists curated by humans rather than algorithms. Lesser-known music streaming services like Rdio and Songza, too, are clamoring for more attention; Rdio recently began offering a freemium version of its service in an effort to attract new users, and Songza is working to put its app in front of more users, for example by integrating with Chromecast. But will any of these services distinguish themselves enough to gain user traction that strikes close to Pandora’s? Only time will tell.