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Listening to music is becoming a more popular activity on mobile phones, finds comScore in its latest Mobilens data release, and this has important ramifications for the music industry. During the 3-month average ending in August, comScore reports that almost 3 in 10 mobile phone owners listened to music on their devices, up about 5% from the previous 3-month period. While that’s not a huge jump, it’s the continuation of a gradual trend that has seen a more than one-third increase in the mobile audience listening to music since the same period last year.This increase is having an effect on music sales. As Nielsen points out in an October blog post, the proliferation of mobile devices – and their presence in everyday life – has been a key contributor to growth in digital music, with digital album sales increasing 15% year-over-year through August, on pace to surpass last year’s peak of 1.3 billion digital track sales. That’s good news for the industry, given an expected 9% decrease in physical music sales this year.

Other Mobile Activities Continue to Grow

The mobile audience is becoming increasingly engaged in other activities on their devices, too, according to the comScore data. 34% played games during the 3-month average ending in August, up slightly from 33.5% the previous period, while mobile social networking (38.3% v. 36.7%), browser use (52% vs. 49.8%), and use of downloaded applications (53.4% vs. 51.1%) saw more rapid growth.

Texting remained the most popular measured activity, done by 75.6% of the mobile audience, up from 74.8%.

1 in 3 US Smartphones Now An iPhone

Apple continues to make inroads in the US smartphone market, gaining 2.4% points in market share from the 3-month period ending in May, rising to 34.3% share of the market. Google’s Android also posted an increase, extending its majority share to 52.6% from 50.9%.

These gains came at the expense of – unsurprisingly – RIM. RIM’s share of the market dropped by more than 27%, down 3.1% points to 8.3%. Microsoft (3.6% share) and Symbian (0.7% share) saw smaller share point drops of 0.4% each.

For the 3-month period ending in August, smartphone ownership in the US reached 116.5 million, up 6% from May.

Apple Closing in on LG in Mobile Market Share

Apple’s success, coupled with LG’s gradual drop in market share, has seen the former challenging for the #2 OEM market share ranking for several months. During the latest 3-month average period, Apple gained another 2.1% points in share, up to 17.1%, now separated by just 1.1% points from LG, which dropped 0.9% points to 18.2% share.

Samsung remained the top OEM in the 234-million strong mobile subscriber market, unchanged at 25.7% share. Motorola dropped 0.8% points to 11.2% share, while HTC gained 0.2% points to 6.3%.

About the Data: MobiLens data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 30,000 US mobile subscribers age 13 and older. Data on mobile phone usage refers to a respondent’s primary mobile phone and does not include data related to a respondent’s secondary device.

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