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Apple: 600 million songs sold, biggest competitor is P2P

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2005
News Categories: iTunes

Following the launch of the Australian iTunes Music Store today, an Apple executive said the company has now sold more than 600 millions songs, and that illegal music downloading is the biggest competitor to iTunes.

“We have now sold over 600 million songs worldwide and have nearly 80 percent market share in most of the countries we are in,” said iTunes vice-president Eddy Cue. “This is our 21st [iTunes Music Store] and I will say that there is no place that we have ever launched where music downloads have been strong prior to us.”.

Cue said that illegal music file-sharing services such as Kazaa and BitTorrent are the closest things Apple has to a digital music competitor.

“Our view is that our biggest competitor is illegal music and P2P services,” Cue said. “We always thought that if we offered a better alternative then those customers would be happy to pay. Obviously… we will never be better than free… but we think AU$1.69 is a very competitive and fair price to pay.”

Cue also confirmed that the Sony BMG music label is missing from Apple’s iTunes Australia launch. “We are working with Sony and we know their artists would like to be a part of the launch and we hope they will join us,” he said.

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Comments

1

Seems like things are slowing down at the iTMS.  More people have iPods, but the songs are selling slower.  What’s up with that?

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on October 25, 2005 at 11:36 AM (PDT)

2

If sales on the iTMS appear to be slowing, it might be an excellerated version of the decline in CD sales. With a new format, there will be a rush of people buying there old favorites and when that process finishes you’ll have to sell them new stuff and that is going to happen at a much slower rate.

Posted by John George on October 25, 2005 at 11:43 AM (PDT)

3

Slowing, in addition to the maturing market mentioned by John George, could also be partly due to a more sophisticated audience.

Whatever we think of the specific pricepoint of iTMS tracks (@ TM wink), I think that most will agree the quality is the bare minimum. As the digital market grows, so doesn’t the average baseline knowledge of those involved. More and more people are, if not literally, de facto replacing their CDs and other media and running home stereos off of compressed digital libraries.

Anything I pay money for that’s intended to be a real alternative to a CD had better be higher quality than 128 kbit. Yahoo, Real and the independent online sellers get this, Apple doesn’t and I wouldn’t be surprised if this also isn’t part of the slowdown.

As a *catalog* I think iTunes is great, but the service itself leaves me very unenthusiastic.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on October 26, 2005 at 5:45 AM (PDT)

4

“Cue said that illegal music file-sharing services such as Kazaa and BitTorrent are the closest things Apple has to a digital music competitor.”

Someone needs a fact check. BitTorrent is neither illegal nor a music file-sharing service. It is a protocol used to transfer (among other things) legally-available files over the internet using every sharer as a data source and therefore leveraging them for extra bandwidth. You don’t blame Ford whenever someone drives drunk and kills someone, don’t blame BitTorrent when someone abuses the service.

Posted by Maurice on October 26, 2005 at 6:03 AM (PDT)

5

“We always thought that if we offered a better alternative then those customers would be happy to pay. Obviously… we will never be better than free…”

For me (and perhaps many other, more discerning/intelligent consumers) it has nothing to do with “Free vs. $.99”, it’s about “Portable hi-bitrate vs DRM’d low-bitrate”. 

Wouldn’t have thought it was that difficult a concept to understand…

Posted by IDSmoker on October 27, 2005 at 7:25 AM (PDT)

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