App analytics firm App Annie has launched its first ever ‘Music Index’, which aggregates downloads and revenues data from Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play for music apps.

The company’s blog post announcing the index provides a few useful data points, including claims of growing engagement with the category. “From August 2013 to August 2014, time spent in music apps grew 79%, resulting in an increase of 64 minutes per month,” explains the post.

App Annie divides music into four sub-categories: music listening, music creation, artists and information, and other. Unsurprisingly, the first is the most popular, accounting for seven of the top 10 music apps in the US in September by revenues, and eight out of the top 10 by downloads.

In-app subscriptions for listening apps are increasingly lucrative too: in September, Pandora, Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, Rhapsody and Slacker Radio were all in the top 50 US non-gaming apps by revenue across iOS and Android.

But App Annie thinks the music creation category is an “overlooked gold mine”, although it doesn’t offer that much data publicly to support this claim. It notes that Smule had the top four music creation apps by revenues in the US in September, but by that company’s own estimates, it’s likely to make $40m in revenues in 2014.

That’s a decent apps business, but not exactly moving the needle in terms of the wider music industry. It all comes back to those listening apps, the growth they can get from in-app subscriptions, and the potential for more flexibility (upwards and downwards) in the prices they charge.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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