Mobile analytics specialist App Annie has published its 2016 Retrospective. The report tracked another year of growth for the app industry, with worldwide downloads increasing 15% from the previous year to more than 90 billion. In several major markets – including the U.S., UK, China, and India – the average consumer uses more than 30 apps each month. Total time spent in apps rose 25%, for nearly 900 billion hours worldwide. Global revenue growth rates for the App Store and Google Play exceeded their rates from 2015. Publishers saw more than $35 billion in revenue from the two app markets last year, reflecting 40% yearly growth.
Many other reports last year pointed to mobile as a key source of listeners for streaming music services, but the App Annie retrospective revealed that it can also be a big revenue driver. The top app for worldwide combined iOS and Google Play revenue was Spotify. Pandora made No. 6 on that list. Both were successful enough to be ranked among the top companies by combined revenue: Spotify at No. 3 and Pandora at No. 7. As an app category, music ranked No. 4 for worldwide revenue on iOS and rose to No. 5 for Android.
That performance by two music services is particularly noteworthy because they were on the list with two video streaming services: Netflix was the No. 3 app by revenue and Hulu was No. 10. In previous years, video seemed to be the more established subscription entertainment market and a more popular medium for music consumption. The past 12 months may have seen a tipping point where audio streams pulled even with, or in some cases surpassed, their video counterpart.
Take the Nielsen year-in-review data. In 2015, there were more on-demand music streams by video than audio at 172.4 billion and 144.9 billion, respectively. The company’s 2016 data showed audio streams skyrocketing up 76.4% to 251.9 billion, while video grew just 7.5% to 179.9 billion. As paid products for streaming music and audio have become more common, audiences may at last be getting accustomed to this subscription market.