As Apple finally enters the on-demand music streaming market, established services are making double- and triple-digit gains in users, according to a study by Nielsen.
In the last year, the fastest grower was Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, which more than doubled its users, Nielsen said.
Spotify, which launched in the U.S. in 2011, had the second-fastest growth, with a 91% user increase since April 2012.
Slacker Radio’s user base grew 84%, while Pandora’s rose 71%.
Clear Channel said in May that iHeartRadio has surpassed 30 million registered users, compared with Pandora’s 200 million registered users and 70 million active users. Spotify has more than 24 million active users, according to its website.
One of Pandora’s advantages is that people who use other services also often use Pandora, according to Nielsen's study. For example, 34% of Spotify users also use Pandora. So do 32% of iHeartRadio users.
Apple Inc. officially announced its long-anticipated iTunes Radio on Monday. Similar to Pandora, the service lets users create free, ad-based radio stations to help them discover music.
As the Los Angeles Times has reported, Apple worked furiously to secure deals with the major record companies in the run-up to its annual developers conference.
Apple is tapping into a growing industry. Listeners in the U.S. have streamed nearly 22 billion songs this year, Nielsen said.
Listeners who stream often prefer to do so through smartphones.
In Nielsen's survey of people who own a Web-connected device, every age group except those over 55 used smartphones as their preferred method of listening.
Nielsen’s survey found that 27% of streamers ages 25 to 34 opt for smartphones, as do 26% of those surveyed ages 18 to 24.
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