Research: YouTube Beats iTunes For Consumers’ Music Attention

The format digital music listeners are most likely to pay for… is the one they use least, according to new Nielsen research…

Only about 16 percent of consumers bought a digital download in the last three months, even though the format ranks top amongst formats they would pay for.

Consumption is overwhelmingly taken up by online music videos, ahead of free/illegal downloads. That means, while iTunes Store remains labels’ biggest single recorded-music payout partner, the likes of YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) and Vevo actually command most consumer attention in the form of music videos, from which labels nevertheless get paid an accompanying royalty.

Interestingly, music videos rank just behind digital downloads as the format listeners are next most likely to pay for.

Nielsen polled 26,644 online consumers across 53 countries. Full report here. Its findings may appear skewed, in relation to country-specific research, because different markets’ habits can vary greatly.