Akamai Technologies has launched a new service that tracks and benchmarks the global Web usage patterns of more than 40 digital music Web sites?including digital music retailers, music information sites and streaming Internet radio destinations.

The Net Usage Index for Digital Music measures the global aggregate of total visitors per minute to these sites and also breaks down the view by continent. The company has been collecting data for the past three months.

Preliminary findings show that peak traffic occurs mid-week in North America and Europe, while in Asia and Australia traffic spikes at the end of the week. Sunday is the slowest day worldwide. Daily peak traffic worldwide measures more than half a million visitors per minute.

The data is collected from companies that use Akamai's Web content delivery acceleration service. Clients include Apple Computer's iTunes, Napster, Clear Channel, XM Satellite Radio and MTV, among others.

In a separate effort, Akamai conduced a survey of 200 Internet uses aged 19 ? 68 on their digital music habits. The results include:

- 86% own a portable music device
- 76% spend up to $5 a week downloading music, while 14% spend up to $10 and 9% up to $20.
- 82% prefer a la carte downloads, with ad-sponsored and subscription services garnering 9% each.
- 55% listen to streaming music online
- 42% are loyal to one digital music source, while 29% use two.