According to the NPD Group, MySpace Music and Pandora are the most used music- focused social networks and community web sites. A Q1 2009 survey of 4,051 people aged 13 and over asked if the person was aware of the product and if he or she used the product. Of the 20% who were aware of Pandora, 41% actually used the service - that's the highest usage rate of the group. Multiplying the awareness percentage and the usage percentage results in the percent of people surveyed that use the service: 8.2% in the case of Pandora.

MySpace Music had a usage rate of 33% but an awareness rate of 25%, resulting in roughly the same number of users as Pandora. AOL Music was tops in awareness with 30% but among the lower in usage with 13%. Last.fm, iLike and Imeem were around or above 30% in usage rate but their awareness rates were in the 4-5% range.

Bebo (8% awareness and 9% usage) and Live365 (6% awareness and 15% usage) are at the lower end of the group and have similar number of users. Slacker had a usage rate of 17% but an awareness rate of only 3% and the lowest number of users of the ten services in the survey.

There is a stark difference between the results of NPD's survey of and the survey of active music buyers conducted by AIMS, the independent music retail coalition. Of the 1,000-plus customers surveyed, 62% said they used MySpace, 46% listen to Pandora and 32% use Last.fm. In the NPD survey, 8.3% use MySpace, 8.2% listen to Pandora and 1.5% use Last.fm. Music buyers, the AIMS survey tells us, are more active with music services.

In April, Forrester's Mark Mulligan wrote that his company's research shows social music fans are "much more likely to buy music than most other consumers (across all formats and channels)."

That’s only logical. The same is found of P2P users. People who spend more time with music - listening, researching, attending concerts, reading about - tend to buy more music than people who spend less time with music. That doesn't necessarily mean social music services are the cause of a consumer's greater propensity to buy music. It may just mean serious music fans gravitate toward music services - thus the difference between the NPD and AIMS surveys.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print