iTunes Radio Hits Top 3 in Online Music Streaming

Apple's iTunes Radio is just shy of six months old, but is already the third largest online music streaming service behind Pandora and iHeartRadio. That comes from data in an annual radio report from Edison tracking active streaming music listeners.

iTunes Radio is the third largest music streaming service in the U.S.iTunes Radio is the third largest music streaming service in the U.S.

Pandora currently holds 31 percent of the streaming music market, followed by iHeartRadio with 9 percent, and iTunes Radio with 8 percent. Trailing behind the top three are Spotify, Google Play All Access, Rhapsody, Slacker, and TuneInRadio.

Edison tracked active online music service users who listen more than once a month. The study included 2,023 Americans who were at least 12 years old.

The report didn't track paid service users because they make up a very small percentage of streaming music listeners. Statista turned Edison's data into a chart showing the breakdown of streaming music service listeners.

iTunes Radio ranks ahead of Spotify in streaming music listenersiTunes Radio ranks ahead of Spotify in streaming music listeners

While seeing iTunes Radio as the third largest streaming music service so soon is something of a surprise, the bigger shock is that it's ahead of Spotify because it has historically been one of the two big names along side Pandora.

Spotify holds 6 percent of the market, coming in close behind iTunes Radio, and considering how much competition there is for listeners, that could change at any time.

Apple's leg up in the streaming music market is that it bundles its player with Macs, Apple TV, and the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Competing services, including Spotify and Pandora, offer players that users must find and download. Giving users a bundled player option breaks down one path of resistance, which in turn makes iTunes Radio an easy choice for many Apple product owners.

Considering how much of a lead Pandora has over the other streaming music services, it isn't likely it'll get dethroned any time soon. Apple, however, is clearly moving quickly in the market, and the rest of its competitors -- including the veteran Spotify -- need to find new ways to compete before they lose more marketshare.