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Nielsen’s latest report finds April was a milestone month for online music sites, thanks to increased tension and publicity surrounding the RIAA’s cases against MP3.com and Napster, high-profile anti-Napster activity from superstar acts like Metallica and Dr. Dre and inflammatory rhetoric all around concerning MP3-swapping, copyright and related matters.
NETRATINGS: MUSIC SITES
GATHERING MORE EYEBALLS, LESS DUST
Napster, MP3.com, Other Controversies Drive Traffic To MSPs
Gather ‘round the Web fire, everybody—the latest Nielsen/NetRatings are in!

The data-gathering comes from Nielsen Media Research, ACNielsen eRatings.com and NetRatings Inc. According to some scientifically impeccable hype generated by the firm, "Nielsen//NetRatings uses unique technology capable of measuring both Internet use and advertising to provide the most timely, accurate and comprehensive Internet usage data and advertising information in the global marketplace."

Um…well, if you fellers say so.

In any case, Nielsen's latest report finds April was a milestone month for online music sites, thanks to increased tension and publicity surrounding the RIAA's cases against MP3.com and Napster, high-profile anti-Napster activity from superstar acts like Metallica and Dr. Dre and inflammatory rhetoric all around concerning MP3-swapping, copyright and related matters. And—as we previously reported in our coverage of Farmclub.com's spike in users—all of those headlines, the ratings show, translated into greater traffic.

The sites are rated not by the number of eyeballs they generated, but by the increases they saw in visitors.

bill gates',390,400);">bill gates',390,400);">Bill Gates could take heart, in the midst of his antitrust-related troubles, that Microsoft's WindowsMedia.com led the Web-music pack, enjoying 2,675,285 unique visitors last month, compared to 1,064,503 in March—a spike of 151.3%. With its enhanced profile as both a streaming and downloading codec, WMA looks well-positioned to dominate, no matter who wins the copyright wars.

MTVi-boosted Sonicnet.com followed up with 1,558,553 visitors, up from 871,017 in April. Downloading destinations audiohighway.com (up 67.7%), mPulse.com (increased 62.1%), mp3mp4.com (gaining 59.2%) and mp3board.com (a lift of 42.3%) come next on the list.

Napster.com saw a less impressive upturn from a monthly perspective—but only because it was already one of the most popular music destinations on the Web. Unique visitors jumped from 1,144,537 in March to 1,600,143 last month, a boost of 39.8%. Of course, if use of Napster software were factored in, the company's pervasive reach would probably be reflected more accurately.

Sonymusic.com and Liquidaudio.com saw traffic surges of 28.3% and 19.2%, respectively.

In related news, music firebrand MP3.com today announced its "key operational metrics" for the month of April. The company claims estimated unique daily visitors dipped slightly—from 591,000 as of March 30 to 557,000 as of April 30—but that monthly page views remained at 142,000,000 and number of listens (songs both played and saved) moved up from 27,700,000 in March to 32,000,000 in April.

In further related news, everybody's still losing money.

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