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Apple Announces 25 Million Song Downloads 579

Posted by pudge
from the over-n-million-served dept.
Tweder writes "On Apple's iTunes site, Apple has announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded over 25 Million songs from the iTunes Music Store. It seems the launch of the ITMS on the Windows platform has boosted sales tremendously." I suppose this is where I am expected to say something along the lines of, "I thought the recording industry said that this business model wouldn't work, that people won't pay for what they can download for free?" So, there you go.
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Apple Announces 25 Million Song Downloads

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  • by TPIRman (142895) * on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:34AM (#7742895)
    I suppose this is where I should say something like, "The iTunes Music Store wouldn't exist without the cooperation of the recording industry, so even if the music companies had little to lose, they deserve some credit for having faith in Steve Jobs' business model."

    Of course, Jobs already said as much himself [slashdot.org].
    • What's your point? A lot of shit wouldn't exist if it wasn't for something else. MP3.com wasn't going to work either, remember?


    • I'd support Itunes if it were its own industry, with its own music, like mp3.com. The problem with Itunes is it takes the flawed recording industry and extends their monopoly. This would be like steve jobs releasing a version of Microsoft Windows for the Mac, and expecting us all to use that. Its bullshit.

      If I wanted to support the RIAA I'd buy buying CD's right now. Take a hint!

      Support Itunes(RIAA)> [downhillbattle.org] but not the artists?
      • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) * on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:07AM (#7743055) Homepage
        The problem with Itunes is it takes the flawed recording industry and extends their monopoly.

        Guess what? The iTunes Music Store has hundreds of thousands of songs from independent labels. Labels that are not members of the RIAA. Including many labels that give their artists much better deals.

        I'm a jazz fan, so one of my favorite labels is Concord Records [concordrecords.com], with such artists as Poncho Sanchez and Karrin Allyson. Go ahead, log on and listen to them, you might enjoy it. And supporting them doesn't support the RIAA!

        RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] is a neat site that lets you search for your favorite artist or label and find out whether they're RIAA-free or not.
        • I'd really like to see an option to exclude RIAA labels from the site. It could be set in preferances or something.
          • by Sage Gaspar (688563) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:50AM (#7743205)
            That option sounds like business suicide. One option they could have, though, is to sort by individual label (since they already have the labels stored for each album), so you can pick and choose which ones you want to have show up.

            I'd really like to be able to customize the recently added albums and such in this manner. Of course, since this is a new service, I expect more features of the type will becoming (hopefully not for a monthly fee).
      • by jazman_777 (44742) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:08AM (#7743060) Homepage
        If I wanted to support the RIAA I'd buy buying CD's right now. Take a hint!

        I always bought music because I liked it and wanted to be able to listen to it when I wanted to, over and over again, not to support the RIAA.

        • by TyrranzzX (617713) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @08:20AM (#7743899) Journal
          And all I wanted was my gap clothing, not to support slavery in africa by buying it. And I wanted to sit at home and eat steak without dealing with putting antibiotics and growth hormones into my body. I wanted to eat my steak rare but feedlots breed so much medicine resistant disease that by eating feedlot steak rare I risk catching a bug that can't be cured. I want to drink root beer without worrying about wigging out on my family becuase my head is so full of MSG that I get so irritated by their breathing I want to kill them, the same goes for about 60% of the food at the stores. I'd like to use the microwave to warm a cup of hot cocoa in the morning, but I don't want to take in carcinogens that'll make me get cancer. I'd like to goto the doctor for treatment of a bad flu and not be told to take antibiotics that don't work and make it worse, becuase the doctor thinks they are a miracle cure, but he can't tell me about the real cure; Vitamins, minerals, aromatheripy, rest, hot fluid, fruits, veggies, and time.

          It boils down to this; we're all sluts to convienence. I chose not to use these conviences because I'd rather live healthily and be able to do what I want to do than live a drugged, unnatural, unhealthy and ultamatly controlled existance. I like some of the music the RIAA puts out, but because I'm supporting terrorism by buying it, I refuse to buy any of it. Money is power, and while we shouldn't have to worry about someone acquiring so much that they can break the law and do as they please. I shouldn't have to think about what the person I'm buying from is going to do with the money in our society, but unfortunatly you've got to or else things can get real ugly real fast.

          So, you've got some choices. Do you buy from the RIAA and support terrorism? Do you buy from indie bands and support them? Do you go onto a p2p app and do whatever the hell you want and risk economic extortion at the hands of the RIAA or do you say "fsck it" and never listen to music again?

          And for those of you who think my using the term terrorism is wrong, think again. The RIAA is a cartel who's entire economic basis for survival is extortion of it's customers in one form or another. Sure you say, it's just music. But that isn't the whole truth. It's most of the music in all of the stores and on all the radio's. Combined with Bertlsman, Disney, News Corp, AOL time warner, and the 2 others I can't remember, and you have an effective media monopoly. Views that the big wigs don't like get censored from all media, and americans become as unsuspecting as hindu cows and as blind to the fact that what they do is actually killing people in other countries and the information they are getting is designed to manipulate them. I consider that terrorism, not on par with 9/11 or the some of the slaughters that go on in africa, or what the chinese do to their people, but it is still terrorism and it's still wrong.
          • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @09:52AM (#7744353)
            TERRORISM - n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. - www.dictionary.com

            Look, you may not like the RIAA, but please don't use the word terrorism where its not appropriate. We need a very strong word to describe 9/11 and some of the slaughters that go on in africa. Inappropriate use of the word devalues it's power.

            • TERRORISM - n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

              the definition you quoted perfectly states the case for why the RIAA's actions could be considered terrorism, specifically, by the very groups (victims even) the RIAA terrorizes.

              and since we're picking definitions most expedient to our argument:
              TERRORIZE -
      • by all your mwbassguy a (720029) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:11AM (#7743071) Homepage
        #1. iTunes features many indie artists. hell, i just got the shaggs first record on it. #2. iTunes is showing the major labels that its a waste of money to record a whole album with a talentless artist when all anyone really wants to buy is a single. this will leave more money for acts that can put out albums worth of songs and develop over time. #3. if the music sucks, it still wont sell.
      • Given how popular iTunes is, at this point in time if you were an artist looking to sign a deal it seems like it would be very smart to look for the label that gave you the best deal for songs distributed online - which would be independant labels. If good artists make this choice, then fewer people will buy RIAA stuff - and that's how they will finally fall, if at all. It's all about an artist going for a more limited sucess in music but possibly ending up a lot better because the cut is better, so they
    • by Kircle (564389) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:15AM (#7743086)
      Well, Jobs talks a little about that in his interview [rollingstone.com] with Rolling Stone Magazine. One of the most interesting quotes I think from the article relates to how he convinced the labels to go along with his idea of a music store:
      When we first went to talk to these record companies -- you know, it was a while ago. It took us 18 months. And at first we said: None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content.


      Of course, music theft is nothing new. Didn't you listen to bootleg Bob Dylan?

      Of course. What's new is this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet -- and no one's gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock -- open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it -- puts it on the Internet. You'll never stop that. So what you have to do is compete with it.

      At first, they kicked us out. But we kept going back again and again. The first record company to really understand this stuff was Warner. They have some smart people there, and they said: We agree with you. And next was Universal. Then we started making headway. And the reason we did, I think, is because we made predictions.

      We said: These [music subscription] services that are out there now are going to fail. Music Net's gonna fail, Press Play's gonna fail. Here's why: People don't want to buy their music as a subscription. They bought 45's; then they bought LP's; then they bought cassettes; then they bought 8-tracks; then they bought CD's. They're going to want to buy downloads. People want to own their music. You don't want to rent your music -- and then, one day, if you stop paying, all your music goes away.

      And, you know, at 10 bucks a month, that's $120 a year. That's $1,200 a decade. That's a lot of money for me to listen to the songs I love. It's cheaper to buy, and that's what they're gonna want to do.

      They didn't see it that way. There were people running around -- business-development people -- who kept pointing out AOL as the great model for this and saying: No, we want that -- we want a subscription business. We said: It ain't gonna work.

      Slowly but surely, as these things didn't pan out, we started to gain some credibility with these folks. And they started to say: You know, you're right on these things -- tell us more.
  • kazaa vs. itunes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey (321000) * on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:35AM (#7742909) Journal
    Pudge, I've got several Macs. I use iTunes. I just bought an album off there about an hour ago. But let's not kid ourselves. So, there's been 25 million downloads off iTMS in the past, what nine months? There's probably been 2.5 billion downloads off kazaa in that time. Orders of magnitude, dude. Orders of magnitude.
    • by black mariah (654971) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:42AM (#7742940)
      So? There's probably more people that copy friend's CDs than buy their own and I don't see anyone bitching about that anymore.

    • by commodoresloat (172735) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @08:12AM (#7743883)
      It's worse than it looks. In the first two weeks Apple sold two million songs. It's been seven months and they've only sold 25 million? That's a million a week the first two weeks, and then only 23 million in the next 28 weeks. If current trends continue, we're looking at a significant dropoff of song downloads. The writing is on the wall, folks; Apple is dying!
  • by Thinkit3 (671998) * on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:35AM (#7742910)
    Suppose there was a competitor that didn't give us the garbage x.99 cent "marketing price". In fact, the fee paid was variable! So the extra amount is equivalent to a tip. Some might say that tips make sense with digital goods, where the marginal cost is near zero. Cynics (plentiful and uncreative) at this point just walk out of the room after delivering a few loads of regurgitated garbage. So, the option is $5 to $18. Do you think $5 is the choice taken most? Look here [magnatune.com].
  • Profit? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AIX-Hood (682681) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:37AM (#7742921)
    The real problem is that Steve Jobs mentioned that Apple isn't making any money on the iTunes venture; that they only see profit through the sales of iPods. I'd be interested in knowing what they plan on doing that will change this, as we've all seen too many neato tech ideas go belly up when the investors started wondering where their money went.
    • Re:Profit? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Llywelyn (531070) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:11AM (#7743070) Homepage
      There are no plans to change this. Over time they hope to break even on iTMS and make money almost exclusively on iPod sales.

      On iPod sales. This bears repeating.

      So long as they are making money as the result of iPod sales, there is no "wondering where their money went"--there is a net gain so long as that, as a result of iTMS, they sell enough iPods to make up the difference.

      According to their recent report iPod sales increased enormously thanks to iTMS, so they can afford to take a small loss in one area (that they hope to break even in one day) to boost another.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @05:15AM (#7743411) Homepage
      Right now, iTMS is building marketshare and mindshare, and then I mean primarily by the total market (online music sales) increasing. They have a cash cow (iPod) that's already benefitting from it. Long term, they can start pushing for higher margins, since bands would *want* to get on iTMS, particularly smaller bands.

      iTMS is kinda like where amazon.com was, building itself up. The difference is, iTMS is going at near zero and is feeding the iPod cashcow, amazon.com was burning VC money faster than lightning. iTunes is even a migration app - get people to use that, and there's one app less they'll miss if going to a Mac.

      Overall, you should rather ask yourself if anybody else can make money on it without relying on stuff like the iPod - if not, iTMS can keep the prices so low they that competitors won't enter the market, and yet high enough to make a nice profit. Right now the competition is big, and so the prices are slashed as low as they can go. iTMS will keep it there until they've established themselves as *the* place to go for music online, or maybe *the* place overall.

      Kjella
    • Re:Profit? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by juuri (7678) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @05:18AM (#7743416) Homepage
      There is a difference between making no profit and making a loss. Real investors don't care if a product doesn't make much money as long as it pays for itself completely. Why? Because if a product does such AND continues to grow in volume the revenue and overall value of the company increases. In this case 25million songs is akin to selling over 8k more top of line powermacs. That revenue is a good thing even if it isn't profit. More importantly even if only every 10k songs results in an iPod sale then Apple still clears an additional 2500 ipods sold. If apple is clearing an average of $150 per iPod (wouldnt be suprised with their crazy margins) then thats over 375k in EXTRA iPods sold. And what if every 100 iPods ends up resulting in a Mac... see it goes on and on.

      The point is not making a profit isn't a bad thing if it increases positive mindshare and overall company value, which this is obviously doing.
  • by beakerMeep (716990) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:39AM (#7742927)
    I suppose this is where I am expected to say something along the lines of, "I thought the recording industry said that this business model wouldn't work, that people won't pay for what they can download for free?" So, there you go.

    if you dont have anything to say...don't say it.
    if you think the story isn't worth posting...dont' post it
    seriously do we really need a story every time ITMS reaches a nice number? 10 million, 20 million, 25 million...

    It's popular we get it.

    The real question is how is this affecting sales of ipods since it has already been determined that Apple doesn't make much if any money off of ITMS.

  • 25 million? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekychic (732496) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:39AM (#7742928)
    Chump change in the pockets of a multi-billion dollar industry. Besides, they'll somehow make it sound as if they actually lost money on this...
  • Wrong model. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ActionPlant (721843) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:40AM (#7742932) Homepage
    It was the subscription model that was doomed. iTunes works inarguably. Subscription services may have been decent theories, but I think we just saw their end, and know who was right all along.

    Um, yeah. In case you didn't get that, the winner is Jobs.

    Damon,
    • Re:Wrong model. (Score:4, Informative)

      by bmarklein (24314) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @04:24AM (#7743292)
      Actually, despite the hype that iTunes has received, the subscription services have been doing quite well. Total subscribers are close to 700,000 and rising quickly. At an average of $10 per month, that's about $7 million in revenue per month, with much better profit margins that iTunes. Source for the numbers: I use Rhapsody and, for the way I listen to music, it blows away iTMS. It's $10 per month for unlimited on-demand streaming. Of course I have to be connected to use it, but I'm always online anyway so that's not a problem. For a flat fee, I can explore all kinds of new music & listen to old favorites as well.
  • Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ctr2sprt (574731) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:41AM (#7742937)
    I suppose this is where I'm expected to say something like, "We're capable of forming our own opinions, pudge, so why don't you just post the stories and leave the editorializing to us?"

    This is Slashdot. You don't need to put a slant on a story. No matter how unbiased the submission is, rest assured that we'll find a way to turn it into a Microsoft conspiracy of some sort.

  • Breaking even yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrshowtime (562809) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:41AM (#7742938)
    Yah, 25 million songs is VERY good, which works out to be about 2.5 million albums, but is Apple making any profit yet? My understanding was that Itunes was designed to sell Ipods and is making very, very, little profit due to all of the fees it has to pay to the RIAA and the owners, etc.
    • Yah, 25 million songs is VERY good, which works out to be about 2.5 million albums...

      Actually, with the quality of music released these days, 25 million songs probably works out to be about 25 million albums.
  • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:43AM (#7742949)
    "what makes you think that 25 million is a large number compared to the alternatives?"

    Let me guess, you're one of those people who routinely blasts the media for their context-less use of figures as well.

  • by Nazmun (590998) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:46AM (#7742968) Homepage
    I'd like to see this succeed as the next person but...

    Apple is probably the largest seller of online music and 25 million doesn't sound like a lot compared to the billions that other formats like CD's make (sure they cost more to sell but the actual physical medium is worth a lot less then the $13+ amount they are sold for).

    Note that I'm not discounting the ability of Apple to increase but this news story was not as amazing as the editorial seems to suggest. We all knew apple was doing well but so far $25 mil (25 million songs * 99cents) is not big in it self.
  • by corebreech (469871) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @02:59AM (#7743018) Journal
    What's the big deal?
  • by mr_lithic (563105) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:00AM (#7743025) Homepage Journal
    Despite the endless opportunities out there for peer-to-peer downloads and free digital content, your ordinary guy on the street would prefer to have his music centrally available and easy to access.

    The P2P apps have come a long way since their inception but it is still a struggle for non-technical people to come to terms with centralised servers and clientids.

    Apple has always enabled ordinary people to use computers. This does not mean that they "dumb down" the technology, rather they lower the learning curve to allow people to at least get on and and working before they need to start seriously learning.

    iTunes provides that portal for easy access to online content and it allows people to pay for it. I am sure if Apple had a free peer-to-peer site, we would be talking bigger numbers. But the success of iTunes is part of the overall Apple strategy and design guidleines.

    What amazes me is that Apple are not making any money from it and are using it simply to sell mp3 players. How much are the record companies raking in on this and yet still complaining about the death of the music industry?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:16AM (#7743089)
    KaZaA Lite Announces 250,000,000 songs downloaded since Apple's I-Tunes has been open for business.....
  • by QuantGuy (654249) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:21AM (#7743107)

    The success of ITMS is that it shows that Jobs understands two things the RIAA does not: microeconomics and marketing. Think about it: iTunes Music Service isn't competing with the PressPlay, Napster 2, Real, or any of the other turkeys who assumed that people would simply want to buy their unfriendly, ad-crippled, bloated services out of a sense of duty, or just because they were feeling guilty.

    No, I believe Apple intended all along to compete with a different class of "competitor:" Kazaa, LimeWire, AIMster and the others. Apple, in essence, pretended it was competing in a commoditized market, by which I mean a market in which the price of goods are in free-fall (or in this case, actually free). How does one compete in a commoditized market? By differentiating the brand with things the other commodity players can't provide: quality ("CD-quality" tracks), convenience (reliable, near-instant downloads), ease-of-use (easy searching and browsing), and bundling (integration with iTunes). This is something the other (albeit "illegal") competitors cannot match.

    Folks can -- and undoubtedly will -- argue until the cows come home about whether ITMS is simply perpetuating the RIAA's cartel. (I personally feel that the RIAA's destruction is as pre-ordained as the setting sun, but that's a thread for another discussion). But you have to give Jobs credit for outside-the-box thinking, and for a willingness to take on an unconventional class of competitor.

  • Big shocker (not) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jht (5006) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @03:36AM (#7743154) Homepage Journal
    Let's see. iTunes has been a hit on the Macintosh. Folks were clamoring for awhile to see it on Windows, too. Now that it's on Windows, even more folks are using it. So far, so good. 25 million songs (I'm probably responsible for around 40 of them) is a lot of songs, no doubt. But we tend to forget what Steve Jobs clearly says in light of all this hype:

    The iTunes Music Store makes little if no profit. At all.

    Why, pray tell, is this not a problem for Apple? Because Apple uses the iTMS as a Trojan Horse to sell more iPods. And they make a bundle on every iPod. Between the iTMS and iTunes for Windows, there's a lot more iPods being sold nowadays than there were when the iPod was just a Mac novelty (OK, a Windows version came out with the first refresh, but it was Firewire-only and used MusicMatch).

    Sure, iTunes locks you into buying songs in AAC format. At least it's an open spec. Most of the Windows jukeboxes lock you into buying Windows Media songs, 'nuff said. And nobody of any significance offers downloadable unencumbered MP3 files. If you buy, you get DRM. Apple's is at least fairly transparent.

    What iTMS does prove is that there is a demand for buying one-off songs and permanent downloads. It proves that the subscription model the publishers wanted to force down the buyers' throats was a stillborn idea. It also proves that most of the other music stores that are springing up right now are doomed - because unless there's a secret cabal lined up to screw Apple out of extra money, the only way any of these companies can compete is if they use their stores to help sell high-margin peripherals. Like their own MP3 players.

    Now, if some other company comes up with a player that's a far better unit than the iPod, attaches it to a store, and manages to wrestle the lead from Apple, then Apple might have problems justifying staying in the music biz at zero profit. But this kind of thing is right up Steve's alley, and I doubt he'll let this lead slip away without a fight. You know, it wouldn't be the first time Dell walked away from a market with a bloody nose. It doesn't happen often, though.

    Plus, as formats go, once you buy into a DRM format they've got you for good. Every iTunes for Windows user is one that'll probably never go to Windows Media.
    • But we tend to forget what Steve Jobs clearly says in light of all this hype:

      The iTunes Music Store makes little if no profit. At all.

      Why, pray tell, is this not a problem for Apple? Because Apple uses the iTMS as a Trojan Horse to sell more iPods.

      I only partially believe what Jobs has to say on the matter because he certainly is playing this up for effect (the effect of not alienating the free-downloads-or-die-and-kill-music-middlemen crowd). Once the infrastructure for iTMS is in place and paid

  • by barfy (256323) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @04:04AM (#7743245)
    I am making the big prediction. Along with the Pepsi giveaway, music downloads are going to be paid for in large majority with things other than cash. You will get them with boxtops, bottle caps, affinity points (frequent flyer miles, credit card points, gas receipts, time share points, disney products etc....), rewards for school fundraisers, anything you can think of will become a replacement for direct cash payment. They will become the ultimate giveaway item. This will become important, because anything to overcome the friction of the credit card purchase on a sub-dollar item will be a major driver for the distribution sites.

    This will have the side affect of creating an even larger hit based marketplace. Hits will generate the vast majority of downloads, and the most amount of money for the artists. The return of the single as the product of choice. For most artists and most songs this will generate very little money.

    It will be very hard on the CD distribution system as more people get most of their music online. This will also have the side affect of making the used CD industry more difficult as there will be less content available. Which will probably be good for the music industry in the long run.

    Legal music, free for the consumer, is going to be the most disruptive force in the industry.
  • The Next Wave... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by barfy (256323) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @04:14AM (#7743274)
    I tried to get this as a story, but it will do as a comment...

    The music industry is looking for additional ways to profit off the downloading scene...

    As reported by the LA Times [latimes.com], Apple and Time Warner have started offering specially designed Lord of the Rings CD-Rs [thirddoor.com].

    These limited edition blank CDs are specifically designed for users purchasing the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King soundtrackfrom Apple's iTunes Music Store.

    What I am going to do is wait until they provide "pre-burned" CDR's like RedHat does... That would be cool.
  • by ITR81 (727140) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @04:56AM (#7743366)
    iTunes is currently having 1.5 million tracks downloaded from it's store each week. This # will rise even more right after the holidays due to everyone claiming their iTunes Music Store Gift Certificates. That doesn't even include all the iPods they have sold thus far. Most places like CompUSA are already out of stock of the 20-30GB iPods. So this to me is sign that iTunes Music sales will probably spike right after Christmas. Right now the big rumor about the 4th Gen iPods which are coming in Jan. will not just include the normal bigger storage compacity but a ePod line in the $100-200 range. Apple is already said next yr they will open a Japan, Australia, European, and Canada music store for next yr. I and alot of people think that some these stores will open in Jan. while the rest will open about 3-4 months down the road. This would cause very large influx of downloads per week. Also starting in Feb. Pepsi will be doing it's 100 million iTunes give away which will definitely make Apples overall #'s go up and up. Right now it's been rumored that Pepsi will also be giving away 600 iPods with Pepsi logo iSkins and each will be #'ed. I believe Apple will hit 100 million by Jan. and if the McDonalds promo iTunes deal goes through those #'s will just continue to increase. So no I don't see it slowing down. On a side note it's nice to see Winamp 5 guys went with AAC from Dolby. Which just goes to show the AAC std is catching on.
  • by inkswamp (233692) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @05:04AM (#7743381)
    I keep seeing mention of the fact that Apple doesn't profit from iTMS, which may or may not be true. And I see mention that iPod sales are the real goal of iTMS, which may or may not be true. What I don't see mentioned is the fact that Apple is once again (as they did with OS X) using their products to regain some of their long-lost mindshare amongst consumers. No longer do people think of the classic Mac OS freezing up daily and crappy Performas of the mid-90s. People are associating Apple with iTMS and the iPod, iMacs and G5s and these are all excellent products that will draw new customers in. iTMS is one part of a wider strategy to increase Apple's marketshare, IMHO. I know several people who are planning to switch from Windows to Mac in the near future and one of those people are doing so specifically because of the quality of the iPod.

    • Switchers... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by binarytoaster (174681) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @07:31AM (#7743778)
      Yeah, you've got a new switcher right here, and I followed exactly this chain. First got iTunes/Win, then got an iPod (nearly the same week) and quickly started looking at iBooks. This from someone who has been using PCs for 10+ years, and used to layer scorn on Macs :)

      I'm very happy with my OSX now, and considering one of those shiny dual 1.8 G5s...
      • Re:Switchers... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcwop (31034)
        I have switched three people here at work (they switched their home computers). They are incredibly happy with their machines, and each one wonders why they ever put up with their Windows machines.
  • by MantiX (64230) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @06:33AM (#7743645)
    It's interesting, I have a friend who works for one of the major music labels here in Australia, and very strongly advocates that the only real reason the label's are against the whole mp3/online thing is becuase it removes both revenue and the gross ability to influence the market from those major labels. It's difficult to setup a distribution chain, advertising and marketing model, instantly, to compete with the existing companies. However with the advent of the internet, competition is more likely, and that same competition could well be motivated to do a better job.

    It's understandable....only time will tell if it happens, and that will be directly influenced by the attitudes of major artists towards record labels in securing contracts.

    One can only presume that there will similarly be successful online mp3 sites, who have the ability to see musical ability in artists that identifies with the markets taste, and have power in the music industry. Will it be Sony/Universal/EMI/....or will it be the new tech startups......

    In the mean time, the argument is still valid that many people will still copy mp3's when they haven't paid for them, even if they were 10c a song. Argument is also valid that whilst those people exist, they will usually put more effort into finding a way to crack protection than actually spending what should hopefully become, a fair price for music online.

    Note to industry: bloody hell music is over priced!
  • View from 1999 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alphakappa (687189) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @06:51AM (#7743685) Homepage
    Check out this discussion in slashdot, 1999 about custom CDs - some of the comments actually suggest creation of an online store and make the (dire) prediction that the RIAA would not like it, and that it would take an exceptional salesperson to talk to them about it.

    Here's the article [slashdot.org]

    Looks like the 'exceptional salesperson' was Steve Jobs. Wonder if anyone imagined back then that the RIAA would turn out to be so vindictive!
  • by Capt'n Hector (650760) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @07:03AM (#7743707)
    I really expected more by now. In iTMS's first week of existence, Mac OS X users bought 1 Million songs. considering that's something like 3% of computer users (make it 5% for simplicity's sake,) Shouldn't we have seen about 25 million sales within the first week of the Windows release?

    I think we all know what's happening here: the same computer users who put up with windows are content with the 30 second song previews.

  • Assumptions... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fitten (521191) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @11:05AM (#7744864)
    I suppose this is where I am expected to say something along the lines of, "I thought the recording industry said that this business model wouldn't work, that people won't pay for what they can download for free?"

    And you would be assuming that the people who are paying for iTunes songs are people who would otherwise have downloaded the songs for free. I've seen no evidence that shows this. For all we know, the people buying iTunes songs are completely the same group of people who would also buy the CDs. Personally, I doubt that iTunes has had much of an impact at all on pirated music. Those who download for free already have no problem with downloading music for free, so why would they change and start paying?

    Also, don't forget that iTunes is not supposed to make money in and of itself. It's meant to sell iPods. Jobs has already stated many times that iTunes is not supposed to (and won't) make money, at least for Apple.
  • by jgalun (8930) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:25PM (#7745694) Homepage
    I wish Slashdot would stop setting up the recording industry with these straw men arguments. I don't think the recording industry ever thought (or said) that it would never sell mp3s online. It said that it was unrealistic to sell mp3s online if they could be easily pirated by anyone the next day. And you know what? They were right.

    My interest in using iTMS is very high now - the only reason I don't use any of the online music stores is because I don't want to be locked into one store/one mp3 player (software)/one mp3 player (hardware). But once a standard is defined, I'll be there to buy.

    But I wouldn't use iTMS, or any music store, if the old Napster were still around, or if Kazaa were any good for finding the music I am interested in. Back when Napster was king, I could find any song I wanted for free. As a result, I didn't buy a CD for a couple years (file sharing over the college network helped too). Now Napster is gone, and Kazaa has a ton of phony files that have made it a hassle to use. As a result, I'm willing to pay so that I don't have to waste a lot of time finding the free version on Kazaa - since time, after all, is money.

    My friends who can still find what they want on Kazaa have no interest in using music stores. Those who can't, do.

    I'm not saying it's all or nothing. There are some users who always would have paid for their music, and some who never will. But there are also a HUGE number of users - and they're not just computer geeks, remember Newsweek had a cover story on Napster - who will pirate the music if it's easy, and pay for it it's hard to pirate.

    It used to be really, really freaking easy to pirate music. Let's stop pretending that the music industry was saying that it would never sell mp3s online. It was saying it wouldn't sell mp3s online as long as doing so just made it incredibly easy to pirate them.
  • The pundits (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:49PM (#7745915) Homepage Journal
    I think pundits and analysist should be taken to task for their failed predictions. It happens so often with Apple that I'm amazed anyone ever believes anything written in the computer press about Apple.

    The all-time best example of failed Apple predictions is of course this one:

    "Folks, the Mac platform is through..." - John C. Dvorak, 1998

    Then there's this recent gem:

    "Stick a fork in 'em -- this Apple is cooked." Robert Thomson, Financial Post, 2/20/03

    But my current favorite is this example of damning with faint praise:

    "While praising Apple's service, analysts caution that its success won't necessarily transfer completely to the Windows environment. " - John Borland, c|net news, 7/28/03

  • by rmdyer (267137) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @01:39PM (#7746407)
    I have several questions. With music downloads becoming the predominant method of getting music these days, why invest so much money in 24 Bit 96 KHz music production? Or even 16 Bit 44.1 KHz for that matter?

    The problem is compression. We are now sacrificing music quality for quantity. Can I download the real 16 Bit PCM tracks from ITunes? No? Then why does Pat Metheny need to think about recording the next album with pro gear? Who cares about all those quiet subtleties and nuances if the compression just throws them out?

    What I'm saying is that yea, I'm paying less for music these days with ITunes and the like, but I'm also getting less quality that before. Many people don't take that into account. So while we enjoy the grand number of titles available to us, the corporates are quietly creating a class system to the music we enjoy.

    It started with 45s vs. LPs. Then cassettes vs. CDs. Now it's 1 dollar downloads for singles, $12.99 for real CD's, or $20 for 24 Bit SACDs.

    My point is that the quality of the music is less, but the price we pay for the real thing hasn't changed like we originally wanted it to. So we've quietly made a subconsious sacrifice that we are somehow getting what we wanted all along. I say no, this is wrong. What I wanted in reality was a cheaper CD or SACD, not some cheap knock-off that stands in their place.

    The music industry is more than happy to sell you cheap quality music so that you'll eventually go out an buy the real thing...FOR THE SAME OLD PRICES! How have we ended up doing better?

    Let me download the real 16 Bit PCM tracks from ITunes and I might change my tune. Until then, stop all this glorifying the download services. They all suck.

    Just my opinion.

    +1

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