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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 linuxbaby (124641) * on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:21AM (#17204860)
    Here in the land of the truly independent artists [cdbaby.net], iTunes sales have almost DOUBLED. iTunes is paying our clients almost a million dollars a MONTH in sales, now. (My company is one of the back-end digital distributors of audio to iTunes, Rhapsody, EMusic, etc.)

    I feel like this is the same story as "CD sales are declining!" The whole time you've heard that in the news for the past 6 years, physical CD sales for small independent artists has shot WAY up.

    It's like you were looking at one of those stock charts that compares two different companies' stocks. The big famous artists would be that stock whose value has fallen from $100/share to $70/share. But the independent (mostly unknown) artists are like a $1 stock that is now at $5. It's more newsworthy to talk about the big visible stock falling, but the real story down here is in the huge boost that the indies have gotten from improved distribution / availability.

    Check out this visual / geographic metaphor [longtail.com], too.

    • by MrPerfekt (414248) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:41AM (#17204958) Homepage Journal
      No, this is just some bad data. If "secretive Apple" isn't publishing data, where do that get it from? Oh yeah, Forrester...

      *crickets*

      I'm probably missing something and that's okay. Because you can analyze numbers to your hearts content, the point that all the "analysts" are missing is that most of the DRM'd music that's been released is backcatalog, plain and simple. Did it ever occur to anyone that many people probably splurged on legal tunes that they already loved and owned to get it onto their iPod (or whatever). Now that they have all the favorites/classics/etc., there is no reason for them to keep pace with whatever of the 70% crap that the industry pumps out.

      Maybe the industry is just slowed down while they wait for Brittany, Nickelback and whatever shitty country singer to release their new album? Stop thinking that small decline in numbers means THE INDUSTRY IS DEAAAAAAD. It's ridiculous.
      • by Golias (176380) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:48AM (#17204984)
        Did it ever occur to anyone that many people probably splurged on legal tunes that they already loved and owned to get it onto their iPod (or whatever).

        Why would anybody buy a song they already own on CD???

        Ripping a song from CD to either AAC or Apple Lossless is faster than downloading via a typical broadband connection.

        iTMS is awesome for a very specific purpose: 1-hit wonders.

        Anybody who makes an album of consistently good music, I'd rather hunt down a used CD and rip it to a Lossless file, but if I only want one or two songs from a particular artist ever, and I'm not too fussy about hi-fi sound, then $1 per song is a good deal.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:21AM (#17205152)
          People are lazy. People are stupid. People do stupid and lazy things.

          That about covers it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hey! (33014)
            It's not even necessarily stupid. The trick is to keep costs low enough that people who want to listen to a single track buy it off your store rather than get up, find the CD in the living room, and rip that track.

            Most of us here probably listen to music more on their PC or portable players, but that doesn't apply to most people, who probably haven't ripped much of their music collection.
          • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:47AM (#17206862) Homepage
            People are lazy. People are stupid. People do stupid and lazy things.

            Yup, a Senior and her parents at my daughters high school tried to SUE another student for the cost of all her music on her ipod because he erased her ipod in class as a joke.

            The funny part is people ARE most certainly stupid, they don't even understand that plugging the ipod back into the computer will load all the music back on. These are really rich business executives and their child. Too stupid to understand, too lazy to even take a couple of minutes and read or even plug the stupid thing back in and watch it start automatically. (I guess their time as well as their childs time is EXTREMELY valuable)

            Says a lot about the state of intelligence in the world.

            BTW: it took their lawyer to explain to them the extremely complex operation of the Ipod before they understood what others told them many times.
        • by MrPerfekt (414248)
          In the grand scheme of things, CD's haven't been around all that long. Cassettes and vinyl before that can conceivably make up a good portion of a person's collection.
        • by nalfeshnee (263742) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @05:17AM (#17205706) Homepage
          I have a nasty suspicion that a *lot* of people are technically ignorant to the extent that they believe buying it on iTunes is the only option to get it on to their iPod -- or that it is, in fact, faster.

          In fact, building on your point about "hunting CDs down", I'd have to say that given the scenario where you want one favourite track of an old CD, and you know the CD is down in a box in a cellar, and you can't wait and you must have your music now (because you are a true child of the modern world and listening to music all the time wherever you are is a god-given right), then downloading that one track off iTunes is almost certainly faster than finding that CD in the box in the cellar, bringing it upstairs, ripping it .. ah, you get the picture.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          iTMS is awesome for a very specific purpose: 1-hit wonders.

          I reminded myself last night why I do NOT use iTMS. We just got new cell phones for Christmas and my wife wanted "If I Had $1,000,000" by the Barenaked Ladies as a ring tone, but she couldn't find her Gordon CD since we've recently moved and it's boxed up somewhere. So I thought: "Hey, no problem, I'll just go download that track for 99 cents from the iTMS". Big mistake... her phone, of course, only accepts MP3s (among other lesser types) as rin

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            I swear, once I find those CDs, I'm going to go through our entire collection and rip every one of them using some lossless codec and store them on a hard drive. Every time I purchase a song that employs digital restrictions management I get burned by it. Apple can take their iTMS and serve the sheeple.

            !Viva la revolucion!

        • by SengirV (203400) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:31AM (#17206692)
          I've backfiled my collection to a small degree from iTunes. Mostly in the 1-2 songs per album way you describe. I agree 100% with the original poster. I purchased just about all I'm going to purchase from iTunes because I have a pretty solid collection now. New music is total garbage and because of this, my iTunes purchasing habits have mirrored exactly what has been described - slowed to a snails pace.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SinGunner (911891)
        Your two points work well together. Indie labels don't usually have much of a back-catalog.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Unipuma (532655)

        Stop thinking that small decline in numbers means THE INDUSTRY IS DEAAAAAAD. It's ridiculous.
        Because we all know only Netcraft can confirm that something is dying. ;)
      • by owlnation (858981) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @05:26AM (#17205758)
        It's also worth noting, that especially where the back catalogue is from a time before CDs, 90% of tracks on any vinyl album were filler and B-sides that no-one ever wanted to listen to, but had to because they were on the album.

        There are dozens if not hundreds of bands where I like one song and one song only. Now it's possible to get just that one song and not pay for crap I will never listen to. The records companies are now reaping their just rewards for bad seeds they sewed 30 or 40 years ago.

        The time for record companies to die is overdue. Please only buy music second hand, or directly from the artists.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by soliptic (665417)
          I keep seeing this on slashdot. All I can say is (with my tongue somewhat in cheek) that you guys must be listening to the wrong music!

          All the albums I buy have maybe 1 or 2 tracks I'm not overly fond of, max, and 10-15 that are good. And I'm not buying in any one genre either. Just looking at what I've bought in 2006, the following don't really have ANY weak tracks: Ojos de Brujo - Techari (Flamenco hiphop fusion), Breakage - This Too Shall Pass (dub-influenced drum'n'bass), Shpongle - Nothing Lasts (
    • The WSJ already had an article [wsj.com] about the "stalling" of online music sales, claiming that it's happening for the first time. They include a chart, where you notice something interesting. The exact same thing happened last year (so it's not the "first time"), and then sales skyrocketed through the holidays as everyone got their nanos and iTunes cards. In fact, I remember the news coverage exactly 12 months ago talking about iTunes sales supposedly flatlining.

      This is another article people won't even remem
  • The Register (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:34AM (#17204918) Homepage
    From the article:

    Speaking to The Register, Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff warned against extrapolating too much from the figures. It may reflect a seasonal bounce that hasn't yet manifested itself. However, it might not.

    So maybe there's something going on... maybe not.

    More than that, The Register is not exactly a trustworthy news source. Think of it as the supermarket tabloid of Technology News. I wouldn't be surprised to see something like 'Steve Jobs an Alien Lovechild' on it's front page.
    • by The Bungi (221687)
      More than that, The Register is not exactly a trustworthy news source

      Except, at least around here, when it happens to be reporting something negative about Microsoft. Then it's usually the end-all of online journalism.

    • Re:The Register (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:08AM (#17205094)
      More than that, The Register is not exactly a trustworthy news source.

      To the contrary. I think it's more authoritative than 95% of the "news" that's linked from here. (John Dvorak -- give me a break.) You may disagree with their opinion pieces, but that's another issue. And Slashdot submitters, thorough malice or stupidity, have submitted many of their joke pieces as straight news. They're not to blame for the non-existence of Slashdot's vetting system.

    • Re:The Register (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:12AM (#17205114)
      The Register is not exactly a trustworthy news source. Think of it as the supermarket tabloid of Technology News.

      The Register and the Inquirer (founded by the creator of the Register after losing a power struggle at the Register) never sign NDAs. That means that they rarely get the inside scoop. But, it leaves them completely free to report whatever they dig up, whenever they dig it up.

      So, you have your choice - Press Release journalism from places like Anandtech, Tom's Hardware, etc or "You'll know it as soon as we know it" from places like The Reg and The Inq.

      Pick your poison. I choose the later - better to get it wrong by accident than by some PR flack's direction.
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:37AM (#17204936)
    I buy my iTunes by trading shells and trinkets.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:39AM (#17204946)
    After reading TFA, I'm not sure if what they're deducing is actually real or not. But I can tell you this - when I can get a real CD on Amazon for $10-12, and it costs me exactly that for a noticeably lower-quality digital-only version of the same album, then I see no reason to buy from the ITMS. I don't pirate music; I buy what I want... and the vast majority of my purchases these past three years (the time period over which I've owned an iPod) have been in the form of CDs.

    The bigger question, though, is this: Does Apple really care? ITMS can't be making them any sort of profit compared to iPod sales; and iPod sales are still going up. All in all, Apple seems to be enjoying a healthy bottom line.

    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:45AM (#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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by iamacat (583406)
        Ever tried to burn your songs to CDs? Apple's DRM is just so that teenagers don't just copy their whole music library to other people. If you are an audiophile, well you probably don't mind waiting for a music DVD from Amazon and you wouldn't think of playing it on an iPod then.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phat_Tony (661117)
      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.
  • by Nemus (639101)
    Make your player truly affordable for a full time college student working a full time job, give me the ability to easily take all the songs I buy to any device, any media I wanna take them to, and we'll talk. In the meantime, I'll buy CDs from my local indie record store, and do with them as I see fit.
  • by ZP-Blight (827688) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:49AM (#17204988) Homepage
    When there was only the iPod as a really good portable player, iTunes was the only game in town. Now when you can get decent quality alternatives, interoperability is becoming a much bigger issue and DRM is like a doorstop not letting anyone in.

    And when people can't get into a particular venue, they'll look elsewhere. And science bless the internet, there's a lot to choose from these days.
    • by cei (107343) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:54AM (#17205024) Homepage Journal
      there's a lot to choose from these days

      indeed -- iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JasonKChapman (842766)

      When there was only the iPod as a really good portable player, iTunes was the only game in town.

      Either you're rewriting history a little bit, or you're using a very different definition of really good than I would. The iPod was a relative latecomer to the digital audio player market, and to someone like me, who fancies himself something of an audiophile, it's still not really good. At most, Apple pedestrianized the DAP, introducing the concept to people outside of the techie and audiophile markets that alr

  • I use a gift card (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:51AM (#17205000) Journal
    I use a gift card. Is that tracked like the credit card sales?
    • Depends on how the gift card was bought. If it was bought at a cash register with cash, there's no way to track it through credit card records.
  • by Dhrakar (32366) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:54AM (#17205014)
    Don't forget that the author of the article is Andrew Orlowski. His particular axe to grind is that he wants all of us to pay for digital music via a mandatory flat licensing scheme. That is, all of us would pay a bit (or a lot) extra for our broadband access and that money would be used to pay artists, publishers, etc. Thus, I'd take any predictions he makes about iTunes collapsing as either A) wishful thinking on his part or B) an exaggeration of what Forrester really told him.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lane.exe (672783) *
      Mod parent up, +1 Insightful. I burned all my mod points earlier or else I would.
    • Orlowski... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:42AM (#17205238)
      Some of us wanted to be astronauts, some of us wanted to be firemen or doctors or schoolteachers. Orlowski, now... there's a guy who wants to be John C. Dvorak when he grows up.

      We all need our goals.

      I guess.

  • Other industries improve their products over time. Where's the product improvement here?
    Last time I checked Apple was still trying to sell DRM'd low-fidelity 128-bit MP3's.
    Ultimately iTunes is a store for ignorant music shoppers who don't know that the music
    they're buying is crippled and sounds significantly worse than a CD. When the public
    becomes more discerning, its typically time to improve your products. Hello? Apple?
    • by cei (107343) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:01AM (#17205060) Homepage Journal
      correction: low-fidelity 128-bit AACs, which do actually sound a bit better than 128-bit MP3s. And using my cassette adapter into the stereo of my 10+ year old car, cruising down the bumpy road at 50+ mph with my AC going full blast, I'm guessing I'm really not going to miss any frequency loss from the source material.
    • Has the public become more discerning, though? I don't hear many people complaining about the audio quality of their iTunes downloads who aren't a) audiophiles or b) indignant Slashdotters.
  • 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 ?

  • The article starts off by citing Forrester's authoritative figures:
    "Forrester conducted an analysis of credit card transactions over a 27-month period. And this year's numbers aren't good..."

    But then it casts a HUGE shadow of doubt with this:
    "(The figures don't include gifts redeemed via the iTunes Store. While Apple can argue this does not reflect the volume of transactions taking place, it gives a more accurate picture of what customers are actually prepared to pay for.)"

    I have no doubt that gift cards no
  • hohoho (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:59AM (#17205050)
    Must be a slow news day in the UK, I guess...

    By reading that article (burn job de' jour), and most of the comments here so far, you'd think iTMS only sells music. Man - talk about tunnel vision.

    ...it doesn't. Movies, TV shows etc . are also part of the menu, so much so, that some are wondering how much longer Apple can call it the 'iT Music Store'.

    Ok, so for the sake of whatever, we'll ignore the other digital fares for a moment, and talk about music sales out of the iTMS. Check the calendar...what, a dozen days from now and Santa will do his fear-factored chimney drop, right? All those USD$79.00 2G iPod Shuffles that are being stuffed into stockings as we speak, along with untold tens of thousands of other iPods & iMacs, are going to come online all at once. The bounce for the iTMS will not be trivial, in any case, easily echoing well into 2007 - perhaps just in time for the iTV, iPhone & wIdescreen iPod to hit the shelves and then...bamn...another bounce.

    Collapsing - give me a break. The only thing collapsing is the patience of Apple's shell-shocked competitors, as they try to endure being dragged around the town square behind a team of slathering wild horses...again.
  • by CCFreak2K (930973) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:04AM (#17205084) Homepage Journal
    It is official; Netcraft now confirms: iTunes is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered iTunes community when IDC confirmed that iTunes market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all listeners. Coming close on the heels of a recent The Register survey which plainly states that iTunes has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. iTunes is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent The Register comprehensive networking test.

    You don't need to be a Steve Jobs to predict iTunes future. The hand writing is on the wall: iTunes faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for iTunes because iTunes is dying. Things are looking very bad for iTunes. As many of us are already aware, iTunes continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

    The iTunes Store is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core customers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time iTunes Store customers Bob and Jill only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: iTunes Store is dying.

    ...

    All major surveys show that iTunes has steadily declined in market share. iTunes is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If iTunes is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. iTunes continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save iTunes from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, iTunes is dead. Fact: iTunes is dying

    Shamelessly plagarized by me.
  • Credit Cards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:23AM (#17205160) Homepage
    Who the hell is Forrester & how have they had access to Credit Card transactions for 27 months ?

    Where the hell did my tinfoil hat go ?!
  • by McNally (105243) <mmcnally@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:31AM (#17205192) Homepage
    Sales are down since January, hmmm? Gee, I wonder what happens in January... Could that be the month that huge numbers of people who received iPods for Christmas try out the iTunes store for the first time? How about waiting a month and comparing January to January figures before drawing conclusions about a "collapse"?

    For reasons earlier posters have done an excellent job of outlining, I'm skeptical about the article and its methodology, but even if they're correct is the situation really a grave concern for Apple? The (barely profitable) iTunes Music Store exists to sell (highly profitable) iPods, not the other way around. As long as iPod sales are healthy (and apparently they're very healthy) the effects of "collapsing" sales at iTMS would be secondary or tertiary concerns for Apple's digital music player business. Apple's big wins from the iTunes Music Store come through FairPlay DRM lock-in and influence in the music industry, neither of which is yet affected by these supposedly "collapsing" sales figures.
  • So I guess this means most people have downloaded any back catalogue they want on their iPod's and are now just going to buy new releases. Logically, there are going to be less sales to those people.
  • The kids that I know of that buy stuff in iTunes mostly get their iTunes funds from gift cards purchased in stores. If this guy is trying to track iTunes sales by tracking credit card transactions done directly with iTunes, he's going to be missing a ton of business that is now driven through gift cards. Those credit card transactions will show for the retailer that sold the gift card, not for iTunes.
  • well of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tehwebguy (860335) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:57AM (#17205288) Homepage
    this is just like when dvd sales initially dropped off. after a while, people have finished replacing their vhs with dvds and sales will drop.
  • It's like we've reached the end of the internet. No more to listen to. Done.
  • by Shihar (153932) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @05:47AM (#17205854)
    I wont speculate on iTunes sales as the method the data was collected was sketchy. I will say that there are three reasons I see why their sales might be dropping other then just seasonal variation.

    Vendor Lock / DRM:
    Why on earth would I pay hard earned money for a music format that locks me into a single vendor? iPods are spiffy and all, but your music collection becomes junk if you change to a non-Apple MP3 player. Yes, there are ways around this, but none of them are simple and easy lossless conversions. People are starting to see new MP3 players come out to compete with the iPod. Perhaps they are taking a second look at their music collections and asking if they want to be tied at the hip to Apple?

    Pricing Scheme:
    Other online music services offer alternative pricing schemes that might be eating into Apple's business. Rhapsody has an 'all you can eat' service for $15 / month. The music dies if you stop paying, but until then you get to pick from millions of song for the price of one over priced CD a month. For people who want to explore lots of music cheaply and don't feel an overwhelming urge to collect and horde music, this is a steal. iTunes offers nothing to 'explorers' who don't want to break the bank. Download every song written by the Ramones on a whim with Rhapsody and you pay the same subscription fee you always pay and think nothing of it. Do the same on iTunes and you are out $150 and just made a major purchase. iTune's pricing plan works for some, but not all. Their inflexibility to alternative pricing models might be costing them people that are looking for something other then a .AAC collection at 1$ a hit.

    The Long Tail:
    I would be utterly not surprised to learn that online shoppers are go for back order items rather then Top 40 songs then 'normal' music consumers. If this is the case, then iTunes has a problem. Online shoppers are probably consuming back order items faster then new back order items (that people actually want) are created. If I decide that I just love 1990's Ska, at some point I am going to download all of the good 90's ska that there is. Top 40 is not going to make any new songs to replace this, so I will simply stop downloading. Consumers might be 'filling up' on the back order songs that they wanted and not finding anything new to continue consuming.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @06:13AM (#17205976) Homepage Journal
    1) Videos do not burn as audio. I bought the new Jay Z album. For some reason the main single "Show Me What You Got" came as a video only. Fine, I thought, "something for nothing!" .. Well, no, it turns out iTunes isn't smart enough to burn videos to audio CDs as just audio. So I can't burn the album to CD to play in the car. I had to buy the track AGAIN in audio format. I complained to Apple and they gave me a credit, but it still sucks, since I had to buy a radio edit instead of the album version (which is video only).

    2) Woefully poor video quality. The quality of videos on the iTunes Music Store is atrocious. Even the average rip distributed illegally will be streets ahead. It's just like YouTube in terms of sound quality.. it's not even up to 128kbps AAC standards.

    3) CDs cost the same. I don't know about the US, but I can buy an audio CD for the same price as an album on iTunes. iTunes is more convenient for singles, but I think most people over a certain age buy albums instead.

    4) Convenience costs. You might get some convenience with the instant downloads, which I totally love, but it's at the cost of all the above.. AND the fact sound quality is worse than CD.

    AllOfMP3 was one of the best things to exist and would have even been popular with a pricing scheme fair to artists and the labels.. but no, anyone who does something in a customer friendly way these days is bound to be shot down by the cartels.
  • by Zuato (1024033) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @06:27AM (#17206042)
    So this research takes into consideration credit cards only...what about the hundreds of pre-paid iTunes cards sold each week? If they aren't tracking that, then how can they just declare that sales are collapsing?
  • by skurken (58262) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @06:48AM (#17206106)
    iTunes is treating the world outside the US like an unwanted stepchild. Many of the records that are available in the US shop and which are available on CD here in Europe cannot be bought from the iTunes Store. So, what do they expect me to do? I bought a lot of music from iTunes when the store came to Sweden in the first place, but when even such main stream things as a Disney soundtrack isn't available outside the US, it is no wonder people are heading back to the torrent sites (or record stores for that matter).
     
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:38AM (#17206750)
    Early on, I thought that the iTunes store was great. But that was several years ago, and Apple's failure to enhance it with anything other than more content and higher but still crappy video resolution is pretty pathetic. There are still glaring bugs in the Fairplay DRM system, both in iTunes and on the iPod, that have not been fixed. Audio quality is still horrible, which is a shame given that iTunes and the iPod both support lossless AAC. And it doesn't help Apple that CD prices, at least in my area, have come down some; many CDs that were $17.99 two years ago have come to ~$13.

    iTunes needs a serious code overhaul, Apple needs to address the bugs in Fairplay and the iPod, and most of all, needs to at least double the bitrate of music being sold before I'll go back. And I imagine that its safe to assume a lot of other Apple customers feel the same.
  • by sloth jr (88200) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:05AM (#17207026)
    ... gotta figure that, overall, most accounts on iTunes have been around for a bit, and after one buys the music they're after - why would they keep buying? I've got the music I wanted, I haven't discovered anything compelling enough for me to shill out more.
  • by Assmasher (456699) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:56AM (#17207754) Journal
    While there is a constant demand for new music, much of the iTunes sale has likely revolved around people duplicating albums they either used to have, tapes they've got in a box somewhere, or all the one or two track purchases they avoided previously because they didn't want the whole album. Personally I've spent several hundred dollars there but mostly grabbing stuff I only had on tape or songs from albums that I didn't like as a whole, I rarely buy anything from iTunes now because bands I tend to prefer either no longer release albums or rarely do so.
  • Supply and Demand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:59AM (#17207792) Journal
    If nobody owns the music they want, they buy it. Once most people have the songs they want, sales will tale off. It's not like nobody knew this was coming... The incredible growth rate of PC sales slowed and now companies like Dell are feeling the effect too.

    For companies that sale popular products, saturation is a bitch.
  • by mstone (8523) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:40AM (#17209588)
    The writer is Andrew Orlowski, folks.

    For those of you who've known The Reg for a while, that statement should be enough. For those of you who are newer to it, he leans more toward sensationalism and opinion masquerading as journalism than toward things like taking statements in context and checking his facts.

    He's the one who started the non-conflict between Richard Stallman and Miguel de Icaza over Mono. The original article is here. [theregister.co.uk] Stallman's response, which begins with "Your article about me, GNOME and .Net was inaccurate starting from the title. Those quotations which are accurate are taken out of context, leading to total misunderstanding," is can be found here. [theregister.co.uk]

    Orlowski also had (and possibly still has, I stop reading whenever I see his name in the byline) a grudge against Google. He did a whole series of pieces about 'googlewashing', in which he accused Google of censorship, and another series in which he argued that Google News isn't Real Journalism.

    On the few occasions where I've exchanged email with him personally, I found him rude, hasty, liberal with insults, and generally a putz. Back in Usenet days, he would have been called a classic flamer.

    To the extent that there are real facts in this article, I don't know what they are, and I don't trust Orlowski to have presented them in any way but the one that makes him look like a daring investigative reporter breaking the scandal of the century.

    Even assuming the premise of the article is true, and that Itunes Store sales have fallen dramatically, Apple will be the last one to care. The iTunes Store doesn't do much more than break even.

    And for the sake of completeness, I should state my own bias by mentioning that I've spent a couple hundred bucks at the iTunes store over the last year. I'll probably do the same next year, for whatever that happens to be worth.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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