iTunes – as its name implies – has long served as a hub for Apple fans to purchase, listen to and find new music. Sure, it’s also an app hub, a place to find videos, TV shows and more, but its core focus was once music. That’s changing, however. According to a new report from NPD, users are heading to iTunes more and more as a place to discover and download free applications.
The research firm found that 41 percent of iTunes users listened to music files so far this year, and that figure is down from 54 percent of users in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, 35 percent of iTunes users are using the software to download free apps, a figure that’s up from 28 percent in 2011 and 24 percent in 2010. App purchases are also up – 18 percent of users are buying apps from iTunes, up from 16 percent in 2011 and 12 percent in 2010.
NPD said that, despite these figures, users still flock to iTunes to sample songs for music discovery, which means that “the key to selling music is still strong,” according to NPD senior vice president of industry analysis Russ Crupnick. “It will be interesting to see the extent to which music re-establishes dominance, when iTunes Radio launches later this year.” Crupnick’s statement assumes iTunes Radio isn’t a flop, however, especially considering that it’s going to face steep competition from Rdio, Spotify, Google Play All Access Music and other services.
“Its interesting to see what consumers aren’t rushing to purchase on iTunes,”Crupnick explained. “When given $25 to spend, over 90 percent of respondents reported that they would not buy a newspaper or magazine, only 12 percent would buy a book, and just 15 percent would buy a movie. While that situation speaks to the draw of music and games, it’s also an opportunity to widen the categories that iTunes could promote.”
NPD’s research included survey results from 3,470 iTunes users in the United States aged 13 and older, and 1,448 non-iTunes users, the company said.