After Hours

Average iTunes user only listens to 19% of music library

New online music lockers from Amazon and Google have generated a lot of excitement, but new data shows that iTunes users only play a fraction of the music they own.

Web users have been frantically uploading their music libraries in recent months with the launches of Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music Beta. Both services are storage lockers where users can upload their music files and then play them via a Web browser across multiple computers or devices, or with an Android app.

However, the wisdom of that approach is being called into question by new data released by Music WithMe, which takes a competing approach to managing a music library on a mobile device. Based on Music WithMe's experience over the past three years in wirelessly syncing iTunes with BlackBerry and Android devices, it did some data crunching on its anonymous user data and determined that the average iTunes user only plays 19% of the music in her library.

That means most users never listen to over 80% of the music in their libraries. Sounds like an awful waste of space in the Google and Amazon clouds.

Music WithMe Co-CEO Jeff Fedor said, "We've been fortunate enough to learn from our users for the past three years about what they want and more importantly how they actually discover, share and sync music. User feedback and data, like the 19% statistic, really drive home how much need there is for good music discovery tools. The search feature that we just launched is one of those tools. It's one way for people to discover music across shared music, their own music, Amazon, iTunes and even YouTube."

Music WithMe lets you sync playlists, artists, and albums over-the-air (Wi-Fi or cellular) from your iTunes library (using a helper app for Mac or Windows) to your Android device. But, the focus isn't on syncing your whole library, just the stuff you want to play right now. The focus is also on social media and social music discovery, letting you easily tweet the song you're playing and listen to the popular songs other users are playing at the moment.

Expect this concept of uploading your music files versus using Web and social music services to heat up on Monday at Apple WWDC 2011, since Apple is expected to launch its streaming music service as an alternative (or compliment) to traditional iTunes.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

6 comments
tjmalisk
tjmalisk

I believe most people use iTunes Library as a warehouse to transport music to their iPod or other devices. The fact that 19% of people actually listen to their music from their library shows a portion of the people are listening from their computers.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Sounds like an awful waste of space in the Google and Amazon clouds." Surely they aren't storing each individual upload of "Ice, Ice Baby". Wouldn't they just store one, and provide each uploader with a link back to that one? If I can think of it... I don't use these services because they don't fit they way I listen to music or MP3 content, or the devices I use to listen to them. Maybe I would if I was more interested in the mobility of my content, but I'm not.

NKX
NKX

Hardly surprising. Even in the pre-iTunes years, I only listen to about 1/5th of my CDs/vinyl, etc. It's just how it goes. Cookie-cutter, instant-smash, by-the-recipe, top-40 hits are not set up for long term success or replayability... and if these singles become over-played and worn out, they may remain in your collection, but hardly played (if ever again). Albums, on average, contain 3 good songs and 8 filler songs, and that results in a lot of songs that just don't get played as well. Take any of my collections: DVD movies and TV episodes, CDs, iTunes library, OGG/WV/FLAC collection... all get about 20% played and the rest left alone. Maybe we humans have "eyes bigger than our bellies" so to speak. Collect 5x more stuff than we'll ever need.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

they are doing some de-duplication. Otherwise, it would be incredibly onerous from a storage perspective.

jeremy
jeremy

Completely agree. This is a pointless article which simply regurgitates some useless PR puff. Do you listen to every CD you own all the time? Do you read every book in your house all the time? Of course not.