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Summary:

Enjoy it while it lasts, Apple, because the same record executives whose nasty nose candy habits you saved will shank you soon. Record company executives say Apple is inflexible. Ask the consumer, they got no problems with iTunes. Its just that Apple is not willing to […]

Enjoy it while it lasts, Apple, because the same record executives whose nasty nose candy habits you saved will shank you soon. Record company executives say Apple is inflexible. Ask the consumer, they got no problems with iTunes. Its just that Apple is not willing to fall prey to the greedy urges of a self destructive record industry. Never mind that there is no device (or service) that has mounted a reasonable challenge to iPod … yet. And I don’t see anything on the horizon either. Samsung, MSN, Sony…. they all have new devices planned. Like they had last year, and well…..

Apple points to the 500 million tracks downloaded on iTunes to date as a milestone. But dividing that figure by the more than 20 million iPods sold indicates that each iPod owner has bought an average of fewer than 30 songs from iTunes. Piper Jaffray estimates that only nine tracks are bought per month per iPod user. “The mass market still is entrenched in a non-MP3 world,” Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster says says. “Until that changes, there’s just too few iPods out there to move the needle for the overall music industry.”

Actually to be fair the Billboard/Reuters article is pretty well reported and it is a fairly indepth report on the state of Mp3/digital music industry.

  1. The iPod is doomed, DOOMED I say! Well, not really. I see new iPod competitors all the time and some companies have come close or done that hardware better but then they fumble the ball with the software and music services area. The problem is you have to get the hardware, the software and the services right otherwise its not an iPod-like “experience”.

  2. Om, remember that you’ve got cred outside the demographic of the MP3 and podcasting world. Please make it clear that people don’t just have 9 songs on their iPods, but hundreds as there are many, many songs also put on iPods from sources other than the iTunes store — namely CDs copied under the Home Recording Act and pirated songs off Kazaa and other online services.

  3. Brian Breslin Monday, August 22, 2005

    i think its a little shortsighted for people to think “oh they bought an ipod, now they should go and repurchase all their music in aac/mp3 form” I also think the numbers are a bit misleading, because one of the things i’ve been buying most lately are audio-books, as it seems more productive to listen to these things at the gym or while working.

  4. Could it be the content?

    http://www.billboard.com/bb/charts/hot100.jsp

    I’d say give it time – those iPod Shuffles were bought in the last 6-9 months. They’re still full of “legacy” music. iTunes makes it easy to import that CD collection. Or draw in that mystery cache of MP3 files.

  5. First, I’d point out that the connection between the iPod user and the iTunes user is shaky.

    I don’t have an iPod. I buy tracks from iTunes. I burn them to CD so I can listen to them on my car’s CD player. At some point in the future I envision buying ice>Link from Dension so that I can use my iPod in the car.

    Honestly, most of the noise we’re hearing lately is in advance of next year’s re-negotiation with Apple. Essentially, the various music companies are very concerned because Apple will be able to negotiate from a very strong position. It will be tough for the individual music companies to say no to the company which has sold over one billion songs.

    I’m amused that the music companies say that “Apple is inflexible” but they don’t say what Apple is inflexible about. Hopefully, Apple is being inflexible about such things as $3.00 tracks, different DRM rules for different tracks, etc.

  6. First, I’d point out that the connection between the iPod user and the iTunes user is shaky.

    I don’t have an iPod. I buy tracks from iTunes. I burn them to CD so I can listen to them on my car’s CD player. At some point in the future I envision buying ice>Link from Dension so that I can use my iPod in the car.

    Honestly, most of the noise we’re hearing lately is in advance of next year’s re-negotiation with Apple. Essentially, the various music companies are very concerned because Apple will be able to negotiate from a very strong position. It will be tough for the individual music companies to say no to the company which has sold over one billion songs.

    I’m amused that the music companies say that “Apple is inflexible” but they don’t say what Apple is inflexible about. Hopefully, Apple is being inflexible about such things as $3.00 tracks, different DRM rules for different tracks, etc.

  7. Average of 9 tracks a month? Ya know, that’s about the same pace at which I used to buy CDs.

    The only thing that CDs have over iTunes anymore is the audio quality — which, on some recordings, is very nice to have. Most of the time, though, I’m perfectly satisfied with iTMS files’ sound. I gave up on the esoteric super-hi-fi stereo stuff some time ago, and my home theater-in-a-box suits my purposes these days.

    My CDs are in storage in my closet and haven’t seen the light of day in over a year. I’m perfectly happy carrying everything around on my iPod.

  8. Jesse Kopelman Monday, August 22, 2005

    The thing I don’t understand is why Sony doesn’t dominate this market. After all, not only can they make their own hardware but they actually own a huge chunk of the content. It seems like it would be trivial for them to come out and undercut everyone on device and download prices just to gain market share. I guess Sony can’t get over its love of removable media enough to fully embrace something that involves hard drives and downloads.

  9. I love reading these complaints by record company execs. After years of ignoring the new technology and an absolute failure to work together to find a new business model for the internet world, they wait for someone else to do it all for them and then complain that they don’t have enough control. What I really love about this is that they are charging more per track than you’d pay if you bought a whole CD and they have $0 manufacturing cost, $0 promotion cost, $0 distribution cost. Where *is* all that spare money going? I am delighted to see that Apple is managing to hold the line and stopping the record companies screwing the customer with even higher prices.

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