Apple Music tops the J.D. Power 2016 Streaming Music Satisfaction Study

Apple Music ranks highest among the streaming music brands included in the J.D. Power 2016 Streaming Music Satisfaction Study with an overall score of 834. Apple leads with the highest score in three of the six measures, performing particularly well in performance and reliability, content and ease of use. Rhapsody ranks second with an overall score of 826 and performs particularly well in the cost of service and communication measures.

Overall satisfaction with paid streaming music service is highest among fully engaged customers—listeners who consume others' content (i.e., they follow other users and/or listen to their playlists) and who say they "always" or "sometimes" share their own playlists—according to the J.D. Power research group.

The inaugural study measures overall satisfaction among customers who have used a subscription-based streaming music service within the past six months. Customer satisfaction is examined across six key measures (listed in order of importance): performance and reliability; ease of use; cost of service; content; communication; and customer service. Scores for each measure are reflected in an index based on a 1,000-point scale.

The study finds that satisfaction with paid streaming music service is impacted by the level of engagement with listening to and sharing playlists and content with others. There are four distinct listener profiles. The largest segment is passive listeners (customers who neither share their own content/playlists nor consume other users' content), representing 44% of the total music streaming universe; 29% are fully engaged listeners; 22% are followers (customers who consume other users' content/playlists but don’t share their own); and 5% are sharers (customers who say they "always" or "sometimes" share their own playlists but do not consume other users' content).

The study finds that satisfaction is higher across all measures among customers who pay for their music service, with an overall satisfaction gap advantage of 19 points, compared with those who use free-based music services. The largest satisfaction gaps are in the customer service (68-point gap) and communication (45-point gap) measures.

As levels of engagement and contribution to a streaming community rise, so does satisfaction, according to J.D. Power. Overall satisfaction is lowest among passive listeners (801), followed closely by the followers (812), while satisfaction is highest among fully engaged listeners (860) and sharers (833). Satisfaction in all measures is lower among customers who are not engaged than among those who are, with an especially wide gap between the two segments in the communication (79-point gap) and cost of service (72-point gap) measures.

Among customers who listen to content released exclusively on their streaming service, overall satisfaction is 52 points higher than among those who don’t, and content satisfaction is 59 points higher. Nearly three-fourths (74%) of customers who listen to exclusive content say they "definitely will" recommend their provider vs. 54% of those who do not who say the same.

The 2016 Streaming Music Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 4,482 customers. The study was fielded in June and July 2016.