Analyst: Slowing iPod Sales Should Worry Record Labels

In its spartan Wednesday event, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) boasted it’s sold 225 million iPods to date. So when we saw Forrester VP and music analyst Mark Mulligan suggest, on, that customers upgrading to a new model every two years means an actual installed base of half that, we thought – so what… ?

iPod and its siblings revolutionised the music business and gave labels a lifeline just when they needed one. On Apple’s own stats, shown Wednesday, it still has 73.8 percent of the mobile music player market, with “other” manufacturers languishing on 18 percent, SanDisk (NSDQ: SNDK) 7.2 percent and Microsoft’s Zune 1.1 percent.

So the number of people who own at least one iPod is smaller than Apple’s headline stats because some people own more than one? Big deal. A company that successfully forces customers to shell out again after 18 to 24 months is a company that’s doing well; a tactic seen in other sectors like white goods.

But Mulligan, whom we followed up with, has a darker warning for the companies that rely on iPod: “I don