Study: More People Watch Music On YouTube Than Download It

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Here’s some surprising good news for video aggregator YouTube: More Internet users watch music videos for free on YouTube than download music either through official sources like iTunes or even illegally. That discovery comes from Nielsen, who polled more than 25,000 users about their online music habits towards the end of last year.

Nielsen’s report on the subject, “The Hyper-Fragmented World of Music,” says that three times as many people stream music videos as download music, adding that audio-only streaming is also more popular than legal digital downloads (“Unfortunately,” the report continues, “subscription models have yet to gain popularity with users”). Legal digital downloads are nonetheless globally popular, with the format experiencing double digit growth in Europe.

The report even goes so far as to identify the “primary global consumer” of music online: A 20-24 year old male. “This consumer will do more of everything than the average with respect to legal download of music tracks, streaming of music and music videos, and downloading mobile music apps,” according to Nielsen. But while the music industry scrambles to redirect efforts towards what used to be called (chiefly in Britain) “the lad market,” the report’s conclusion should also be borne in mind:

There is not a single model anymore, and the idea to build the one and only service which offers the perfect consumer experience does not exist yet, and may not work.

Somewhere, Apple is already working to fix that with its next generation iTunes release, dubbed ‘iTunes: Monolith That Looks Like A Swimsuit Model Who Is Nonetheless Not Offputting To Potential Female Users’.

More on TIME.com:

Nielsen Sues Comscore For Patent Infringement

Nielsen Analyzes Netflix’s Online Video Dominance

How to Stream Music at Parties

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