Music labels worried about Apple’s focus on apps | iLounge News


Music labels worried about Apple’s focus on apps

Record label executives are concerned about Apple shifting its focus from music to iPhone and iPod touch applications, according to a BusinessWeek report. The article suggests that due to Apple’s role as the world’s largest music retailer and dominance of the U.S. with roughly 90% of digital downloads and a 74% share of the MP3 market, the labels are more dependent on Apple than before, while Apple’s core business is growing less dependent on music sales and more dependent on apps. “It’s no contest,” said Needham analyst Charles Wolf. “Apple’s strategic future is tied to the App Store. There is no strategic importance to music anymore.” The report comes just one week after Apple introduced iTunes LP, a new digital album format aimed at spurring sales of full-length albums as opposed to single downloads, at a special event; the company also spent time highlighting the gaming abilities of the iPod touch, and the video camera of the fifth-generation iPod nano. “Our biggest concern would be if they started resting on their laurels [in music],” an unnamed senior executive at a major label told BusinessWeek. “We need them to continue innovating.”

Related Stories



The solution is simple; produce better music!

Posted by Galley on September 18, 2009 at 12:14 PM (CDT)


why don’t they just lower the prices back then apple will focus on them, tbh apple will get more money from app’s than music i’d guess.

Posted by rob on September 18, 2009 at 1:01 PM (CDT)


Music labels continually find new ways to amaze me.

First, unlike music, developing a robust, can’t live without it, applications platform for the iPhone OS will, if successful, give Apple an eventual Windows like stranglehold on the smartphone market. In this scenario, Apple will be able to move ridiculous volumes of high profit hardware as well as generate continual revenue from developer licensing and their cut of app sales. The analogous grip they had with the iTunes store DRM music was never anything as tenacious as this; you always had the option of getting your music from other sources or even taking your music to other players via CD conversion. As long as Apple can continue to keep most developers coding for their platform, no similar alternative will exist and so it only makes sense that a lot of their focus is on applications.

Second, what else exactly is Apple supposed to be doing? They just introduced the iTunes LP, something no one else has an equivalent product for. They have the largest online retail catalog of music. They just expanded the Genius functionality, something that only Microsoft, with their 1% market share, is even attempting to compete with. The bottom line is that it’s music, you listen to it, that’s it.

Where are the labels doing anything? Are they changing their pricing demands to Apple so Apple can better compete with free? Are they pushing for Apple to offer lossless downloads to capture the hold out demographic waiting for true CD quality (or better)? Are they pushing for Apple to offer a subscription plan as an option?

It’s not rocket science. The music aspect of the business model is pretty much a polished product at this point. Short of the labels removing the shackles from Apple so they can find more appealing ways to sell greater volumes of music, things can’t really change all that much, and so Apple’s focus goes where they do have the freedom to change the rules to maximize their benefits.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 18, 2009 at 1:31 PM (CDT)


What? Earlier this week they start lobbying for music previews, etc. to be considered performances so they can get more $ from Apple and other online retailers, and then they turn around and say they need Apple to continue innovating?

Trying to have it both ways, much?

Posted by DomArch on September 18, 2009 at 1:37 PM (CDT)


In other news, Zepplin and Air Balloon manufacturers are pressuring gas companies to stop focussing so heavily on powering homes and cars.

Posted by Fanman on September 18, 2009 at 2:34 PM (CDT)


@DomArch, these are actually two completely separate groups. ASCAP represents the performers and song writers/composers themselves - they may be nuts in what they’re asking, but they are at least the little guy in this turf war. The labels represent nothing but their power to exploit and profit from everybody else who creates content.

Basically, ASCAP is yelling at Apple (and the gov’t to force Apple’s hand) because the labels are ripping them off and the labels are too big apparently for either ASCAP or the gov’t to reign in. The labels are yelling because now that Apple is controlling so much of the music business they’re afraid of what an Apple that isn’t dependent on music sales might do to the lifestyles these useless record executives fight tooth and toenail to protect.

Related, yes, but very different groups with different goals.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 18, 2009 at 3:08 PM (CDT)


@Code Monkey

Apple isn’t controlling music sales, Consumers (empowered by Apple) are controlling music sales. That is why record companies and captive record company songwriters are suffering.

Meanwhile good independent performers and songwriters are making a living, for the first time in decades.

Posted by Dan Woods on September 18, 2009 at 5:00 PM (CDT)


“They (Apple) just introduced the iTunes LP, something no one else has an equivalent product for.

Where are the labels doing anything?”

He’s right. Apple’s doing more for music than music labels. They are doing nothing.

Posted by iLly on September 18, 2009 at 5:16 PM (CDT)


@7, Huh? Not even sure you read my comments. That’s certainly not related to anything I wrote.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 18, 2009 at 5:31 PM (CDT)


During the 1980s, I purchased CDs and LPs for a music store chain. It was an exciting time. The stores are all gone, and the music industry missed many opportunities with the internet and new media formats. Instead of embracing and figuring out how to capitalize on change, they tried to force consumers backwards and restrict growth. Idiotic.

Labels need to get young artists on the road, support them, get the consumers interested in new talent, then you will have excitement and focus on the music industry again. Over the years major labels have cut the number of supported artists and developed few new artists. What did they think would happen?

If the music industry officials are that dependent on what Apple does, they should sit in their respective corners in shame for their negligence and mishandling of a once-vibrant industry.

Posted by Steve on September 21, 2009 at 3:49 PM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy