Music app revenues rose 77% last year, with Pandora topping the chart
Original a Music Ally
January 31st, 2014 by Stuart Dredge
The vast majority of music apps don’t make much money. This is true in all app categories, though: for every Candy Crush Saga in games, there are tens of thousands of flops.
So the seemingly-encouraging news that music app revenues on iOS and Android grew by 77% in 2013 should be balanced by an understanding that relatively few apps are making hay in this category.
Which ones are they? Well, Pandora was the most lucrative music app in the world last year according to analytics firm App Annie, which published the 77% claim yesterday in its latest apps report.
Based on revenues from Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play – including in-app purchases – Pandora topped the rankings ahead of Magic Piano by Smule, Apple’s GarageBand, Rdio, Ultimate Guitar Tabs, Sing! Karaoke, Deezer, Slacker Radio, Free Music Download and AmpliTube.
Leaving aside (for now) the fact that the ninth most lucrative music app in 2013 was a free MP3s downloader, there is further analysis to be done. App Annie claims that music is now the third biggest app category for revenues, behind only games and social networking.
How big is that though? We know that Pandora made $85.2m from its Pandora One subscriptions in its first three financial quarters last year, so even if those saw no growth at all in Q4, that would be around $113.6m for the year, with a large (if unknown) proportion of that coming from in-app subscriptions on iOS and Android.
Smule, which has two of the top 10 apps in App Annie’s rankings, made $12.6m in revenues in 2012, and according to Forbes was on course for $21m in 2013, which is another useful datapoint.
But the important thing to remember is that App Annie’s rankings only track spending through Apple and Google’s stores. That means advertising and in-app purchases from iTunes aren’t included – hence no Shazam in the top 10 – and nor are subscriptions for mobile apps paid outside the app stores (e.g. Spotify, which made £64.8m from subscriptions in the UK alone in 2012, with apps the key hook for that).