Although it’s far and away the most popular download service in business today as far as market share is concerned, Apple’s iTunes runs second to Napster in brand awareness, according to a new study. iTunes continues to gain ground however, and easily trounced Napster as the “best” fee-based service.
The second annual Tempo Digital Music Brandscape study was conducted by market research firm Ipsos Insight. According to the report, the fee-based music download market is “a two-horse race between Apple’s iTunes and Napster 2.0.”
What’s more, the report suggests that North American downloaders are demonstrating an increasing awareness of the variety of music services out there, even if they’re having trouble telling their offerings apart.
When asked about the importance of features in the music services they use, 83 percent of the respondents rated good sound quality as the most important factor. Easy to search for music and broad music selection also ranked at the top of the list.
The iTunes Music Store easily won respondents’ vote for the “best” fee-based online digital music service, with 33 percent of the vote, compared to 24 percent for 2004. Napster only garnered 22 percent of the vote, compared to 32 percent in 2004.
Napster 2.0 and iTunes are just about neck-and-neck when it comes to top-of-mind awareness among American downloaders ages 12 and up — 31 percent and 27 percent, respectively.
Seventy-nine percent of those polled recognize the Napster name, while only 57 percent recognize iTunes. Aided awareness of iTunes increased significantly year over year, however — from 46 to 67 percent — while aided awareness of Napster remained constant.
Yahoo! Music, RealPlayer Music Store, Rhapsody and MTV.com all saw increased awareness in 2005, according to the report, with the most noteworthy new entrants in the fee-based music download arena included Yahoo! Music and MySpace.com.
The study was based on research conducted in August, 2005, based on a representative online U.S. sample of 1,088 downloaders aged 12 and up. Ipsos says the results are accurate to within plus or minus 2.97 percent.