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iTunes Sales 'Collapsing' 651

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the nothing-definitive dept.
Alien54 writes to tell us The Register is reporting that based on reported revenues this year iTunes sales are plummetting. From the article: "Secretive Apple doesn't break out revenues from iTunes, but Forrester conducted an analysis of credit card transactions over a 27-month period. And this year's numbers aren't good. While the iTunes service saw healthy growth for much of the period, since January the monthly revenue has fallen by 65 per cent, with the average transaction size falling 17 per cent. The previous spring's rebound wasn't repeated this year."
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iTunes Sales 'Collapsing'

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:45AM (#17204972) Homepage Journal
    The bigger question, though, is this: Does Apple really care?

    Errrrr, according to the article, sales are dropping. So I'd say yes - Apple probably do care

    If the article is correct in the assumption that sales are dropping due to DRM (which would seem to hold true in my experience), then I'd say Apple would care alot - nothing worries a company more than a division's future earnings collapsing.

    Futhermore, ITMS music shackles a consumer to an iPod. A portion of future iPods sales rely on ITMS sales right now.
  • by ozzee (612196) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:54AM (#17205026)

    I can say I'll never buy from itunes as long as they have DRM.

    All the music I have purchased over the last 2 years has been from Candyrat [candyrat.com] records. Here you will find some very impressive artists, not the run-o-the-mill, overhyped bands and singers. They feature "NO DRM", high bitrate MP3's (I'd prefer OGG but I need to bitch about it) and many albums have an electronic equivalent of the album cover.

    Why would I possibly consider tieing my hands with DRM or itunes even ?

  • by mr_matticus (928346) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @04:07AM (#17205090)
    The thing is that they're paying less and getting less, and getting it faster. Nobody ever made the claim that there weren't any reasons to get CDs.

    There are tradeoffs to digital downloads. They're in a lossy format (but arguably more durable if one fails to make a backup of a CD and it gets scratched), delivered nearly instantaneously and always available (no getting out of bed or going to a store where it might be out of stock), and available a la carte for cheaper than CDs.

    We already know the RIAA sucks, so there's naturally got to be some tradeoff for increased convenience and lower price. That tradeoff is being saddled with DRM. But iTunes purchases are not really any more or less "ownership" than a CD. They're just different.
  • Re:iTunes 7.0 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @04:15AM (#17205138)
    "The disaster that was iTunes 7.0 is a very likely explanation for this. It must have cost Apple millions to release a version of iTunes that failed to run properly on Win32..."

    I don't know how badly it runs on Win32, but I can say that it doesn't work as well as previous versions did on the Mac either. I have no idea who okayed their new playback technique, but apparently they don't have very good hearing, because the quality is *horrible* at times (and I'm up to date). Maybe Apple can't fire them because of fair employment policies (no offense to the hearing impaired). But at least I'm still able to purchase music from the store, which has failed me once for the first time ever, for whatever that's worth -- or not worth.
  • Front Row (Score:5, Informative)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @05:45AM (#17205514)
    I would like to see a mac mini with TiVo-killer hardware and software, but I doubt it will exist as long as Apple is selling TV shows in their store.

    The movies and TV shows are in crappy quality aimed at the iPod screen size too, so they're a gross ripoff given that they're priced like DVDs.


    I can't comment on the accuracy of your description since iTunes isn't available where I am living at the moment so I haven't been able to take a look at these services and I am to lazy to go to the trouble of making use of the loopholes. However, if that's really true and iTunes movies and TV shows are aimed at the iPod then Apple is barking up the wrong tree. Selling Movies and TV shows through iTunes is a good idea but they should tie it into Front Row and aim the sales at the desktop/mediacenter user not the iPod user. The iPod is a music player... period. I don't understand why Apple hasn't done more with Front Row and Mac-Mini combo. Perhaps they are so busy trying to wring the most out of the iPod they have forgotten about their other media products. I use a Mac-Mini as a media center along with an Elgato tuner and it works brilliantly but only because Elgato tacked a home made extension onto Front Row for their TV tuner which is a good thing since the remote Elgato ships with their tuners is (in my experience at least) complete crap. How hard can it be for Apple to create an API for TV tuner manufacturers like Elgato to use to integrate their products into Front Row? Still, it's cool to be able to control a DVD player, music jukebox, photo slideshow viewer, movie player and a TV tuner complete with recorder using a 6 button Front Row remote.
  • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @06:54AM (#17205894) Homepage
    The movies and TV shows are in crappy quality aimed at the iPod screen size too, so they're a gross ripoff given that they're priced like DVDs.

    iPod screen: 320 by 240 pixel resolution.

    iTunes movies: 640-by-480-pixel video.

    While not quite as good as most DVDs, It's certainly not crappy, and certainly not aimed at iPod screens.

  • by ben there... (946946) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:59AM (#17206160) Journal
    AllOfMP3.com is still very active. Visa has stopped allowing payments from the US to them, but that's not very surprising. They did the same with online gambling, while the overseas gambling sites are still very much in existence.

    Russia is planning to join the WTO though, and in the process may be enacting legislation to satisfy American trade organizations, because essentially, that's what the WTO does to other sovereign nations. At that time, which is sometime not that soon, it may or may not become illegal for AllOfMp3.com to operate under new Russian legislation. That is up to Russia to decide, obviously.

    You can read their legal FAQs for more info:
    http://www.allofmp3.com/press/centre.shtml?s=993&d =18191974 [allofmp3.com]
    http://music.allofmp3.com/press/centre.shtml?s=993 &d=12886483 [allofmp3.com]
  • by cmdrbuzz (681767) <cmdrbuzz@xerocube.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:03AM (#17206188)
    Once you get to your five computer limit, you can forcibly de-authorize all [apple.com] of them by clicking a button in your iTMS account management.
  • by THE anonymus coward (92468) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:04AM (#17206198) Homepage
    Sure, thats the advertised resolution, but in the quest for ever smaller downloads, they compress it way too much, and the video quality is somewhere between "barely acceptable" and "pitiful". Of course, I blow my weekly $2.07 to get the latest Battlestar Galactica, so I should probably quit my wining and buy DVDs as they come out, which I think is what lots of people have been doing.
  • by RemovableBait (885871) * <slashdot AT blockavoid DOT co DOT uk> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:13AM (#17206560) Homepage
    Actually, it is still aimed at iPod screens, as 640x480 is the maximum resolution that the iPod video can play.

    http://www.apple.com/ipod/specs.html [apple.com]
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:38AM (#17206754) Homepage
    All of your wishes answered....

    www.mythtv.org

    I personally don't like it(Mediaportal is far better), but there is a myth2ipod plugin that will take all your recorded Tv shows and convert them for the ipod AND create a rss feed so that Itunes will grab the shows and shovel them to your ipod.

    I have a setup for my daughter, she stopped wasting money on Itunes Tv show downloads since they load up off an RSS feed magically for her now.

    Guess what, she simply fast forwards through the Commercials that the commercial skip misses not a real problem as the clickwheel makes it easy.
  • by testadicazzo (567430) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:56AM (#17206944) Homepage
    Well, for my part I am something of an anti-ipod evangelist. My main motivation is the DRM stuff. With most of my friends, as soon as I explain that you can't just plug your ipod into a buddies computer to share a few songs with him/her, that usually sells them on a more fair use friendly system. I also encourage people to buy OGG compatible stuff, although that's really only a selling point for a minority of people.
  • by shaneh0 (624603) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:29AM (#17207344)
    The TV shows I've purchased look great on my television. The idea that they're somehow designed for small screens is incorrect. A 22 minute TV show is about 250MB.
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:48AM (#17207634) Homepage
    Now as far as movie quality goes, I think ntsc is 480p, right?

    No, NTSC is 480i (ie, 720x480), though it's actually more like 640x480 or so, thanks to signal loss, etc.

    Meanwhile, a DVD is straight 480i. And the reduction in quality from that to 640x480 is probably barely noticeable (since the human eye is more sensitive to changes in verticle resolution). So are you saying DVDs are "crappy"?!?
  • by testadicazzo (567430) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:48AM (#17208624) Homepage

    Well, lemme see if I can explain the love affair.

    There are multiple reasons to prefer ogg over mp3. The first is quality. While LAME gives you perhaps the best mp3 quality possible, mp3 is a technically inferior codec to ogg. The quality vs filesize ratio is simply better for ogg. There was actually a quite excellent double blind test on this, and I suspect I'm over simplifying the results: The test was done over several music categories, ranging from classical to techno. My swiss cheese memory tells me that mp3 or wma may have excelled in one or another categories, but the overall winner was ogg. Also, ogg won by larger margins, so in the cases where mp3 excelled, the difference was less noticeable than in the cases where ogg won over the other codecs.

    If you don't believe me, just do some simple tests yourself. On windows take EAC (exact audio copy) and encode a few sample songs using mp3 and ogg, going for approximately the same file sizes. My experiments have always indicated ogg to be the superior choice (I have even gone so far as to have a friend do file selection for me so I would not know which codec was being played, thus reducing the effect of my own bias). A quick "ogg mp3 comparison" search indicate my results match an overal consensus. It's been discussed quite a bit on slashot as well, see http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/04/29/115420 4&mode=thread [slashdot.org] for example.

    The other reason to prefer ogg is political. mp3's are patented technology. As such they contain inherent dangers. Once upon a time, you could play mp3's on your comptuter without paying the patent holder anything. That recently changed (see http://slashdot.org/yro/02/08/27/1626241.shtml?tid =155 [slashdot.org]. This is a pretty common technique: wait till a format is almost universally accepted, and then start charging for it. It is in fact good business. When online pundits brought this scenario up as an argument for using ogg, it was largely dismissed, but it has come to pass, as should have been expected. Now here's another likely scenario: The frauenhoffer institute accepts a bajillion buck payment from the RIAA (Recording Industry Assholes of America) to add another term to their patent licensing agreement, which enforces all MP3's to include onerous DRM management. How bad could this be? Worst (plausible) case: it could require all future MP3 playing software to refuse to play any MP3's without the DRM, force addition of the DRM tech to your existing mp3's, and break the ability of your non DRM equipped software of MP3 player to play the MP3. If everyone is using MP3's and no good alternative exists, there's a format monopoly and they absolutely can get away with this.

    Ogg on the other hand is free as in freedom, and technically superior. You get better sound quality, and the only price you have to pay is to reduce the dangers of having your rights removed. Given this, it would seem that avoiding ogg is the more phobia-like (i.e. irrational) response.

    Okay I lied. The real disadvantage to ogg is finding hardware with native ogg support. For example you can't use an Ipod (as far as I know). So that's a bit of a drag. But there are quite good ogg enabled players out there (I have a nice model from samsung), and as more and more market share starts using ogg, you'll see that improve.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @12:21PM (#17209250) Homepage Journal
    The vertical resolution is widely regarded to be the important resolution for quality. DVDs have 480i. Itunes is 480? (not sure if it's i or p). It makes sense given that it's not meant to be viewed on a screen which draws interlaced images.

    The vertical resolution is the most important because it traditionally has been so crappy, what with those tall rectangular pixels and all.

    Once you have square pixels, neither direction is more significant. You just want as much as you can get of both.

  • Re:Uhh... No.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:05PM (#17210006)

    Modern movies tend to be either 1.85:1 ("flat") or 2.35:1 ("Scope"). Flat films are usually presented on 16:9 TVs (which is 1.76:1) with a pinch of left and right frame clipped (it's really miniscule). Scope films do have to be letterboxed on a 16:9 TV.

    DVDs support a variety [wikipedia.org] of resolutions which are letterboxed for the appropriate output. All of the NTSC formats worth mentioning are 480-line.

    Fun fact: Almost all mass-entertainment films before the 1950s were 4:3.

  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @04:05PM (#17212734)
    when I can get a real CD on Amazon for $10-12

    Why not get your real CD's on lala [lala.com] for $1.75?

    I have no affiliation with lala, except for that I joined last week, and have since shipped one old CD I don't want, and received two shiny new ones I did want, for a grand total of $3.50.

    You may not be able to get everything you want right away, but hey, you can't beat the price.

    And although they don't have to, they still pay musicians.

    And their emailed Christmas card said "Fa la la la la ... lala.com." Gotta love it.

    OK, OK, you don't have to love it. I thought it was funny. Leave me alone.

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