Slacker

The one chart that shows the dominance of the smartphone

March 29, 2013: 8:14 AM ET

Is Apple prepping a streaming music service? Nobody outside Cupertino knows. Here's strong evidence why it should.

FORTUNE -- There's no doubt that the smartphone kickstarted a revolution. But the extent to which this is true in music and other media isn't yet fully appreciated. Consider this: Some 20 million people paid for music subscriptions last year. And an estimated 80 million tap into "freemium" streaming services such as Pandora (P) and Slacker. A decade after the iTunes Store opened -- it will pass the 100 billion downloads mark this year--another technological shift is changing listening habits. In many cases, that may be causing music fans to ease their dependence on Apple (AAPL). For proof, look at this chart from the April 8, 2013 issue of Fortune. The story titled "Apple's streaming-music problem" details the rapidity with which consumers have embraced streaming music services. The catalyst? The smartphone -- as the graph below shows:

music_players

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