updated 12:15 pm EDT, Fri July 1, 2005
PiperJaffray today said Apple's iTunes is the "clear winner" in terms of audio-download store traffic. "We recently checked Web traffic information of audio download sites on Alexa.com to get an idea of the market share that each of the sites hold." The firm believes the rankings "fairly represent the overall mindshare held by a company." Apple and Napster were both given an "A" grade in the "traffic report card," while Audible got a B and Real received a C. "In our minds, Apple.com earned an "A" as a result of having the largest 3 month percentage change in web traffic rank."
"We also believe that directional changes in traffic can be indicative of the overall level of interest for online content services. In general, audio download industry traffic has increased over the past 3 months."
Apple.com (Grade: A): "In our minds, Apple.com earned an "A" as a result of having the largest 3 month percentage change in web traffic rank, which was up 11% and a reach increase of 11% according to Alexa.com. Clearly, not all visitors to Apple.com use iTunes, but we do believe Apple traffic is indicative of interest in Apple's iPod and iTunes."
Napster.com (Grade: A): "Napster.com is the only other website with an increase in rank; hence we give Napster.com an "A." Napster.com had a slightly smaller increase in rank (7%) than Apple, but it experienced a 21% increase in reach."
Audible.com (Grade: B): "Audible.com experienced a 9% drop in average traffic rank for the 3 months ending 6/30 over the three month average ending 3/30. Over the same time period, Audible's reach increased by a much more modest 2% as compared to Na pster and Apple. Audible's rank and reach, however, has seen a significant spike over the past month. Its rank has risen from approximately 3,600 one month ago to 1,266 on 6/30."
Real.com (Grade: C): "The web traffic rank for Real.com decreased 4% over the last 3 months, while Real.com reach per million users improved by 4% over the same timeframe. Both rank and reach for Real.com have been range bound over the last 6 months. Rhapsody.com traffic was immaterial as the majority of Rhapsody users enter through Real.com."
Yahoo! Music (No Grade): "Most users of Yahoo! Music enter through Yahoo.com. Though we do not have historical data to state a trend, 1% of all Yahoo.com's users go to Yahoo! Music, which we will monitor going forward."
Conclusion: "Apple And Napster Continue To Gain Traction From A Customer Perspective. We believe that Apple.com is the clear winner in our second gra de report on the audio download industry. Apple has the highest web traffic rank (64) of the four and also has seen the most increase in web traffic rank and reach over the past 3 months. Napster's marketing appears to be having a positive impact on traffic."