With so much music consumed on mobile devices, app downloads and usage are a major indicators of any music service's popularity, and according to a new Nielsen ranking Apple Music is entering 2017 in a very strong position.
Apple Music beat Spotify, Pandora and all other music services as the 9th most popular smartphone app in the U.S. in 2016, in terms of average unique users, according Nielsen research data. This ranking came despite it heav iOS focus and status as a paid subscription service. With 20 million paid users, about two-thirds of the apps overall 68.4 million 2016 users accessed the apps limited free offerings.
Among the top 10 smartphone apps, the apps with highest year-over-year change were Amazon App and Instagram, with 43% and 36% growth in users from 2015, respectively.
Overall smartphone penetration grew to 88% of U.S. mobile subscribers at the end of September 2016 from 86% at the start of the year. In third-quarter 2016, a majority of subscribers used Android (53%) and iOS (45%) devices to access their apps. Two percent of U.S. smartphone owners used a handset that operated on a Windows phone, followed by 1% on a BlackBerry.