NPD: Streaming iTunes Could Be Billion-Dollar Industry In First Year

NPD: Streaming iTunes Could Be Billion-Dollar Industry In First Year

Ever since Apple purchased Lala late last year, iTunes users have been expecting to see their music collections make a jump to the cloud (often referred to as iTunes Live).

More surprising, though, is how many users are actively looking forward to a new, streaming iTunes: according to NPD’s polling of 3,862 iTunes users, about 25% are interested in a new streaming library function. Extrapolated upon iTunes’ population as a whole, that’s about 13 million users in the United States alone.

Even more interesting, according to NPD, is that roughly half of those users would be willing to pay up to $10 a month for the service, providing it supported multiple devices. That’s about 7 to 8 million iTunes users, adding up to a billion dollar market in the first year.

I was hoping that whatever form a streaming iTunes took, it would be free, but obviously that’s wishful thinking: Apple’s already got a huge number of users chomping at the bit to stream their entire libraries wirelessly to all of their computers and iOS devices. Of course they’ll end up charging.

My big question is what this means for Apple’s iPod-line. If iTunes goes into the cloud this year, does this mean we can expect a 3G-capable iPod Touch at this year’s September iPod event? In the context of a streaming iTunes, the lack of an always-connected iPod in Apple’s device line-up seems like a hole that would need to be filled.

Would you pay $10 a month for streaming iTunes?

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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