Downloaders Prefer Napster And iTunes

    March 14, 2007

Ipsos Tempo Digital Music Brandscape study released today indicates that Apple’s iTunes continues to cement its position as the primary fee-based digital music destination, while a number of other services are trying to grow their consumer base and establish points of differentiation.

For many brands awareness was consistent in 2006. For American downloaders aged 12 and older, iTunes saw an increase in both unaided and aided awareness over 2005, rising from 57 percent to 66 percent for total awareness.

Napster experienced a decline in awareness, falling from 79 percent to 68 percent in total awarness. Awareness of Yahoo Music increased over the past year from 49 percent in 2005 to 53 percent total awareness.

One of the more notable points from the study was the strong gain in awareness of MySpace, which increased from 16 percent to 54 percent in one year.

"While iTunes’ awareness gains in 2006 have been salient, many industry watchers had anticipated them," states Matt Kleinschmit, Vice President of Ipsos Insight and author of the TEMPO study. "The real breaking stories in the category are the rampant growth of awareness for MySpace and the ongoing challenge for many other digital music services to maintain and grow their place in the consumer consideration set."

Although Napster continues to have the No.1 position in overall consumer awareness, American downloaders are more likely to rate iTunes as the "best" fee-based digital music service, trailed by Napster (41% vs. 11%, respectively).

The change in "best" identification was important for both brands, with iTunes increasing from 33 percent and Napster falling from 22 percent.

Social networking site MySpace made solid gains in "best" mentions, rising from 2 percent in 2005 to 8 percent in 2006, making it the third "best" brand after iTunes and Napster.

"iTunes’ steady gain as ‘best’ brand over the past two years continues to suggest that consumers increasingly view it as the pre-eminent online music brand," continued Kleinschmit. "While this growth at a high level may seem to have come at the expense of Napster, it may in fact reflect a maturing digital music market in which consumers are increasingly familiar with the benefits and restrictions of both the available services and portable MP3 players."