YouTube Topples iTunes In The Battle For Online Music Consumption

How do you consume music online? Do you purchase songs from iTunes? Download music for free? Stream music from a mobile app? According to new research you’re most likely to get your online music fix via YouTube.

How do you consume music online?  Do you purchase songs from iTunes?  Download music for free?  Stream music from a mobile app?  According to new research you’re most likely to get your online music fix via YouTube.

New Nielsen research shows that a mere 16% of consumers paid to purchase digital downloads in the last three months.  During that same period of time, nearly 60% of consumers watched music videos on their computers, presumably on sites like YouTube and Vevo.  When music lovers have got a song stuck in their head and they just have to listen to it now, it’s clear that they head to YouTube to listen for free before they drop $1.29 on it in the iTunes store.

Of course, that’s not to say that nobody is purchasing from iTunes anymore.  According to, “iTunes Store remains labels’ biggest single recorded-music payout partner”, and when it comes to actually paying to listen to music online, consumers are more likely to pay to download digital tracks from services like iTunes than to pay for Internet video services, mobile downloads, social media sites, web radio and other services.  According to Nielsen statistics, more than 20% of consumers say that they would definitely or probably pay to download digital tracks.

I must admit that I used to purchase songs from iTunes quite frequently (when they were all only $0.99).  However, I have recently started to create playlists of all my favorite songs on YouTube instead of actually downloading music to my computer.  The truth of the matter is that many of us are online, connected 24/7 and we’ve got access to YouTube all the time.  And you can find all sorts of great songs to listen to on YouTube.  On the rare occasion that I can’t find a song on YouTube that I really want to hear, well, then I may splurge and buy the song or album from iTunes.

How about you?  When you’ve got a hankering to listen to a particular song are you more likely to head over to YouTube, iTunes or a different site?

Publish date: April 12, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT