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Noisier Cell Phones Coming: More Than Half of Smartphone Users Stream Music

Pandora is the most used streaming music app, followed by iHeart Radio and Spotify, NPD says

More cell phone users are turning their handsets into radios, with half of all smartphone users streaming music on the devices.

Around 52% of smartphone owners used their devices to access apps like Pandora in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 41% during the same frame in 2012, according to the NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence Smartphone usage Report.

Pandora was the most used streaming music app, followed by iHeart Radio, Spotify, TuneIn Radio and Slacker Radio — all of which saw their usage grow over the past year, especially as they get onto more devices.

Data usage also has increased significantly from 5.5 GB per month to 6.6 GB in the fourth quarter. More than 60% of U.S. consumers now carry a smartphone, which can access the Internet and entertainment-filled apps, NPD said.

All of this is good news for new ventures like the AT&T-backed Beats Music, which will launch in the U.S. on Jan. 21 as a new curated music service from music vets Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Luke Wood, Trent Reznor and Ian Rogers.

“Considering the increase in prominence of smartphone music apps, it’s not surprising that hardware manufacturers such as Beats are leveraging partnerships with carriers, like AT&T to break into the streaming music market,” said John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, Connected Intelligence. “This allows AT&T to offer subscribers more of what they want in the way of innovative music apps and provides Beats a partner capable of driving trial in a market where consumers already have an affinity for the music services they use.”

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