Gaming Tops Mobile Apps; Music, Not So Much
-- Games are the most popular category of mobile apps but music isn't too far behind, according to new figures released by Nielsen.
Game apps have been used by 64% of app downloads in the previous 30 days. Weather (60%), social networking (56%) and the broad maps/navigation/search category (51%) ranked second, third and fourth, respectively. Music placed fifth at 44%, well ahead of news (39%) and videos/movies (26%).
Music apps are among the more popular free apps at the Android Market. Pandora is No. 3, music identification service Shazam is No. 20, Amazon MP3 is No. 26 and ringtone maker Ringdroid is No. 33. In addition to Pandora, the top overall apps are Google Maps (No. 1), Facebook for Android (No. 2), Angry Birds (No. 4), YouTube (No. 5) and Angry Birds Rio (No. 6).
Music tends to do better as paid apps at the Android Market. PowerAMP music player is ranked No. 9 overall ($5.14). The doubleTWIST app that syncs a user's iTunes collection with an Android phone is No. 25 ($4.99). Music identification works well as a paid product, too. Shazam Encore is No. 27 ($4.81) and SoundHound is No. 33 ($4.99).
Apple's App Store is more about having fun. Games and entertainment apps occupy the top 11 spots on Apple's "top free apps" list and the top 14 spots on the "top paid apps" list. Music is further down the list. On Wednesday the top paid music app is TuneIn Radio Pro way down at No. 53 ($0.99). The next is Free Music Downloader FM at No. 71 ($0.99), which provides access to hundreds of thousands of free songs. Pandora is the top free music app at No. 24 followed by Ringtone Maker at No. 47.
Nielsen also asked which types of apps people would be most willing to purchase. Games ranked first at 93%, followed by entertainment (87%), productivity (84%), maps/navigation/search (84%), food (77%) and news (76%). Music was not mentioned in the results.
( Nielsen )
S&P To Warner Music Group's Bonds: B+ With Negative Outlook
-- Warner Music Group will soon sell $1.045 billion of bonds, according to KDP Investment Advisors. The company is expected to use the proceeds to fund the merger agreement with affiliates of Access Industries, the holding company whose $8.25-per-share bid for Warner was approved by Warner stockholders Wednesday. According to Bloomberg,  Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings both grade Warner B+ with a "negative" outlook. An S&P rating of B (with either + or - to show relative standings) reflects the company's ability to meet financial commitments in spite of economic and business vulnerabilities. Moody's Investors Service rates the company's debt at Ba3. Moody's describes its Ba rating as "judged to have speculative elements and are subject to substantial credit risk." Each rating can be modified using by attaching a 1, 2 or 3 -- 1 being the best of the group and 3 being the worst.
(Dow Jones )
Trending Today: Facebook Skype, Armen Gilliam, Kermadec Islands, Twitter
-- Facebook was 15 times as buzzworthy as Spotify on Wednesday. While Wednesday's big news in the music business was Spotify's announcement of a coming U.S. launch and open enrollment, the only tech topic that managed to become a trending topic at Twitter was "Facebook Skype." That's because Facebook announced Wednesday that it will soon allow users to make Skype calls within the Facebook platform. Among the other trending topics on Wednesday were Armen Gilliam (the former college and NBA basketball player who died Tuesday night), Kermadec Islands (island group in the Pacific Ocean that experienced a larger earthquake Wednesday) and Alex Morgan (a member of the U.S. women's soccer team).
But Spotify did see a huge spike in Twitter traffic Wednesday - twice. The first spike came at 5am E.T. from news reports of its partnership with Virgin Media in the U.K. The second and larger spike came at noon E.T. when news circulated about Spotify's U.S. announcement. At that peak the term "Spotify" represented 0.11% of Twitter mentions, according to trend analysis site Trendistic. As a point of comparison, Facebook accounted for 1.63% of all Twitter mentions at its peak Wednesday. In other words, at its Wednesday peak Facebook got 15 times the Twitter traffic as did Spotify at its peak. That's a good indication of how much attention Spotify will get if/when it partners in any way with Facebook on music streaming, as has been widely speculated in recent weeks.
(Spotify at Trendistic )
Note to Bidders: Hulu Fast Approaching A Million Paid Subscribers
-- Here's a good sign for subscription services in general: television and movie service Hulu ended the second quarter with 875,000 subscribers and expects to get many more. "In our first 7.5 months, we are fast approaching the 1 million paying subscriber milestone (we already have over a million when including those in a one-week free trial period)," CEO Jason Kilar wrote at the company's blog. "We anticipate exceeding 1 million paying subscribers before the end of this summer; previously we had forecasted crossing that threshold around the end of this year."
Some other stats Kilar mentioned: content owners get $8 per subscriber per month even though Hulu charges a $7.99 subscription fee (content owners also get a share of advertising); the service offers 28,000 full television episodes and 15,000 total hours of content; and 25 million additional connected devices (ranging from TiVo DVRs to Android phones) have become compatible with Hulu.