If you’re red-green color blind then this is going to hurt. Based on estimated traffic data from Compete, this visualization depicts web-based music consumption in the U.S. in 2010. Included are websites where music is streamed and/or downloaded. Due to accurate sample rate availability (and in the interest of sanity) websites with less than 100,000 monthly visits are omitted. The map is to scale. Larger map areas represent higher website traffic. Green indicates positive growth in 2010. Red indicates negative growth in 2010. Hold your mouse over each area for stats—the visits/month stats are for December 2010. For those that don’t speak metric: 1k = 1,000. 1M = 1,000,000.
There’s a lot of green—as a whole music consumption on the web is clearly increasing. One contributing factor to that is that the percentage of people that have internet access is growing. Notably extreme growth occurred for SoundCloud, OurStage, Bandcamp, Grooveshark, and ReverbNation. It’s understandable why SoundCloud is rocketing—it offers rock-solid tools, widgets, community, and an API. In summer 2010, SoundCloud launched a Creative Commons search page. Like Indaba Music, SoundCloud is heavily geared towards electronic music and producers. IMO electronic music is growing faster than rock and has more room to evolve. In my analysis of the 2009 heat map, I referred to Grooveshark as Jaws-like and this year was another feeding frenzy. Grooveshark now gets more visits than Last.fm. But let’s zoom out and view the bigger picture:
In February 2010, Sysomos reported that approximately 31% of YouTube videos are music—roughly one out of every three. The YouTube Music area on the map below represents this 31%. Its size is roughly equivalent to 3x everything else combined. Compared to YouTube, Grooveshark is a minnow. You want pop perspective? According to the Compete data, ladygaga.com had more visits in 2010 than any other artist, and although her traffic decreased 55% over the year, she still gets 5x as much traffic as nin.com. According to data from Next Big Sound, Lady Gaga videos got played 45 million times on Vevo* in December 2010. Dividing that number by the 2 million unique visitors that Compete estimated for Vevo that month tells us that the average Vevo user watches 23 Lady Gaga videos per month. Scream now if you have to. Who had the most visited website at the end of the year? I thought is was going to be paramore.net, who with over 400,000 website visits in December 2010 had Eminem, Bieber, and Gaga all beat. But it was taylorswift.com who had the most, with close to 600,000—that’s like half of Bandcamp right there.
It was unrealistic to accurately quantify MySpace Music this year* but if you remember from last year MySpace Music was in the same ballpark as Pandora. MySpace’s Imeem acquisition came to life, but, still, I can’t imagine they saw positive growth in 2010 since visits to MySpace proper declined 77% in 2010 according to Compete. Then there’s iTunes which is essentially not web-based and therefore unquantifiable on Compete. The itunes.apple.com subdomain used mainly for iTunes links including everything on iTunes—not just music—saw 60% growth in 2010. If it were on the map it would be 40% as big as Pandora.
Comparing relative differences as a whole paints a pretty solid picture of music consumption on the web—but it’s not a total reflection. Compete tracks web traffic from sources in the U.S. and therefore European-based services are not as accurately estimated. The same goes for certain mobile or non-web usage. Case in point: Spotify is included on the map but maybe it shouldn’t be—it’s a downloadable app like iTunes and Americans can’t use it. Google currently assigns Spotify a PageRank of 7. It assigns SoundCloud a PageRank of 6. Is Spotify that widely used or does it just get tons of press? Is Playlist so huge because it offers ringtones—anyone using it? Rdio? What will the map look like next year?
|Website||Visits in 12/2010 (Compete)||2010 Change (Compete)||PageRank in 1/2011 (Google)|
|The Hype Machine||800,000||23%||7|
|We Are Hunted||169,000||274%||6|
Bonus tracks: Right now The Pirate Bay gets as much traffic as MTV.com. Based on its current trajectory Pandora will soon surpass The New York Times. The most popular music magazine online is Rolling Stone—2.2M visits in December 2010. The most popular music blog is Pitchfork—1.4M visits in December 2010—like two Hype Machines. NPR is in the same ballpark as Last.fm.
Update 3/20: Based on requests to add additional sites to the heat map, there is now an alternate edition on page two that includes 8tracks and We Are Hunted rather than Thumbplay and Deezer. All are now on the data table. Regarding Lady Gaga’s 45 million plays, Colin—presumably Colin Willis from Next Big Sound—commented that Next Big Sound’s Vevo play count included Vevo plays from YouTube and therefore the 23 Lady Gaga videos per month calculation is inaccurate.