Flurry’s managing director Europe Richard Firminger took the stage at Music Ally and The Appside’s Music Apps: Beyond the Hype event tonight, to provide stats on the smartphone and apps market, and for music apps specifically.

The company provides analytics tools for developers to use with their apps to track what people do with them, and as a result has lots of data on what apps people are using, and how.

“We’re now at around 480m activations of [smart] phones… Probably the biggest revolution we’ll ever see in our lifetimes,” he said, technologically speaking. “We saw last year around 25bn downloads last year, 4bn in December and 1bn in Christmas week.”

Firminger added that smartphones is still a two-horse race between iPhone and Android, with an install base of 200m+ for iOS, and 100m+ for Android. The US has 109m iOS and Android users, with China second on 35m, then the UK on 17m.

And he pointed out that there are now around 750,000 apps available across the two platforms, taking into account duplications.

“The two big categories that dominate usage are games and social networking, which accounts for about 80% of all application sessions,” said Firminger, who went on to say that “smartphone usage is cannibalising the web” – US smartphone owners spend 72 minutes a day on the web, but 94 minutes using apps.

He also talked about the challenge of app retention. “We are very promiscuous in our usage of mobile applications: it’s like a series of one-night stands I’m afraid!” After 30 days, on average, apps lose 62% of their audience… and eventually after 12 months they lose 94%.”

He noted that some apps are much stickier – Shazam for example.

Talking of music apps… Firminger said that there are more than 500,000 apps in Apple’s App Store, but only 9,000 are music. Flurry’s data shows that in terms of sessions in music apps, they have grown by 530% year-on-year – people are using music apps much more than they were a year ago.

This is a lot more than other categories like games, social networking, news and sports. “Music is growing very, very fast. It’s an exciting place to be.”

What’s more, people are more willing to pay for music apps: 72% of the Top Grossing music apps on Apple’s App Store are paid apps – paid for in the download – versus 24% for games. “It is good news that there are lots of apps that people are prepared to pay for in the world of music.”

He noted that only 16% of apps that help people create music are free, with an average price of $5.99. That compares to radio apps, where 75% are free, and the average price is $0.25. “If you do create content that allow people to create something, they are much more likely to pay for it.”

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