In the three years since Apple unveiled its first iPad in January 2012, the music industry has got progressively more interested in tablets as digital music devices, whether for discovering music, playing it or even creating it.

There’s a hunger in the industry for useful data on the growth and usage of tablets, and what it means for music. So we’ve taken a deep-dive into the available research.

Some key stats from our overview. Apple has sold 120m iPads since the first one went on sale in April 2010, but IDC estimates that overall tablet shipments – Apple and non-Apple combined – were 128.3m units for 2012 as a whole, with 52.5m of those coming in the fourth quarter alone.

In Q4 it estimates iPad took a 43.6% market share of those, with Android the lion’s share of the rest. Looking forward, Strategy Analytics thinks 780m tablets will be in active use by 2016.

How popular is music on tablets? NPD Group says that 40% of US tablet owners listen to music on their device, while Nielsen claims 62% of US tablet owners have paid for music on their device.

Our own research with AudienceNet last year found that tablet owners over-index for streaming music: while 5% of the online population was paying for a streaming service, that rose to 11% for iPad owners and 13% for non-iPad tablet owners.

Our report also digs into where people are using their tablets, how often they’re doing it, who they’re sharing the devices with, and the demographics of tablet owners, as well as a few stats indicating good potential for advertising within tablet apps.

The full report is behind our paywall, for Music Ally subscribers. However, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial here, which will also let you sample our daily industry bulletin and weekly analysis reports.