Blog Post

The Music Industry’s Demographics Problem

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) just announced the 10 billionth iTunes music download sale. An impressive statistic for sure, but not the end of the story.

As Apple often does with download milestones, it gave a prize to the 10 billionth download customer and revealed that the song downloaded was Guess Things Happen That Way by Johnny Cash, a song that dates back to 1958. Given that fans of country music skew older than most music fans (nearly two thirds are over 45), it’s interesting to note the age of the downloader of the billionth app: Connor Mulcahey is 13.


This article originally appeared in Music Industry Blog.

10 Responses to “The Music Industry’s Demographics Problem”

  1. I agree, Randy. Kids are finding ways to get the songs in a legal way without paying. I honestly think the hype with apps stems from the way they hook you in and get you addicted and then BAM…you have to sink money into the game to get further into it. It makes sense. With songs, they are just songs. Nothing there to hook you in. I am a digital immigrant, but I do feel more and more like a digital native every day.

  2. There is one reason why this demographic is changing.. more and more kids are learning how to download their songs off videos on youtube for free so they arent spending the money of iTunes.. they only have to google how to do it and they get a heap of sites with free down loaders. Adults are more likely to do it the legal way for the moment. Thats why youtube has deals with labels and are setting up to make youtube more for commercial users than the small person. Youtube has changed direction massively to look after big business and will do so more and more. So Itunes will lose sales to people downloading songs for free and the labels should be paying their artists with money from youtube income as well. If I was a recording artist I would be setting up my own youtube channel as a partner and raking in the money. They could easily make 10k a week on youtube on top of what they bring in from sales and live shows.

  3. moa2010

    I believe what the major labels and apple along with most other download companies fail to understand is we are fans. But once you buy the the download single or album then what, there’s know interaction. I’m excited for this new company to launch I’ve been reading about them and seen the demo on the site. It’s definitely looks more fan and artist friendly. I like the fact that it was actually designed by an artist.

  4. I don’t think Apple has to worry about the efficacy of iTunes or their longevity. But if they remain proprietary they will be brought down by future innovation. 99 cents a song is all very well but the marketplace will only stand for that as long as it is necessary. For instance, Youtube provides most of the music I listen to for free.
    If Apple is truly interested in being the leader in music sales, they should pay more attention to what the public wants than how to prevent pirating.
    Also, the next cellphone I buy will have an MP3 player.

  5. Haydon

    Agree with the comments of Steve.

    The thrust of the piece is that Apple needs to address the younger market. Well, if a thirteen year old has bought the winning download doesn’t that prove Apple are selling to the younger market?

    Apps need to be creative. It is pointless designing Apps (especially music) which offer no input of creativity for the user.

  6. Steve Jelbert

    Apps and the music biz have nothing much in common save that most apps make no money and a very few do. Loading unnecessary features into the digital format does nothing but create work for software developers and other hangers-on (which I suppose is slightly preferable to paying yet more lawyers). The business has long suffered from poor cost controls and bloated staffing levels- none of which is addressed by these alternatives. And of course there are still only twenty four hours in a day- when exactly are punters going to find the time to utilise all those groovy little apps? Downloading music for free looks ever more appealing- it’s simple and it’s basic. Any other suggestions that propose to be interactive are just star-led and top-down, dependent on the artist possessing any appeal (and manufacturing that is another issue entirely).
    As for Apple, key to their strategy is whether they can persuade customers to re-purchase a new phone every year or two in the traditional mobile model. As a company strong in both the software and hardware markets, it’s in their interest to cover all possibilities. And that includes profitably selling product to all ages. Actively recycling iPhones would be an intelligent move- making good PR, strengthening their market share, widening their customer base.