Those past the age of 25 may find it hard to believe, but April 28 marks the ten-year anniversary of the iTunes store. Over the past decade, Apple’s groundbreaking online marketplace solution has transformed the way we purchase music.
There was a time, back in the early aughts, when the music industry was still trying to figure out how to deal with illegal downloads and file-sharing. Apple, on the other hand, was embracing the trend and developing a way to allow music fans to legally access and own music over the Internet. With the launch of the iTunes store, consumers had a quick and easy way to purchase music — and music labels and artists were offered a way to continue profiting through the digital revolution. (Record stores and music chains, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well.)
Alas, a decade is practically an eternity online, and as such, the download-to-own concept that iTunes revolutionized is already showing signs of age. The growth of subscription-based streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, and the current cultural dominance of YouTube, with its more than three billion videos viewed daily, hint that that music consumers are now largely content to listen, rather than own.
Still, by any reasonable measure, iTunes continues to be a dominant industry player. Here’s a look back at the iTunes store history, by the numbers:
[ 1 ] On April 3, 2008, iTunes officially became America’s number one-music retailer.
[ 80 ] Percentage of U.S. consumers who purchase downloaded music that do so via iTunes.
[ 1 hour, 12 minutes ] The average amount of time spent on the site per month, according to a January 2013 Nielsen report.
[ 200,000 ] The number of songs that iTunes had in its catalogue when it first launched in the U.S. on April 28, 2003.
[ 26 million ] The number of songs available on iTunes today.
[ $0.99 ] The flat-rate cost of all songs sold on iTunes in 2003. In 2009, a three-tier pricing structure was introduced with songs selling for $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29.
[ $ 0.29 ] Amount, per 99-cent song, that goes to Apple. The company waives its 30 percent handling charge for donations made through the iTunes Store.
[ $ 0.08 ] Amount, per 99-cent song, that goes to the artist. Of the $ 0.70 per track (after Apple’s 30 percent cut) that goes to the label, the artist gets 12 percent.
[ 1 billion ] The total number of songs downloaded on iTunes as of February 23, 2006 — less than three years after its launch. The history-making track: “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay, downloaded by 16-year-old Alex Ostrovsky of Michigan.
[ $ 10,000 ] Amount of the iTunes Store gift certificate won by Alex Ostrovsky for this historic achievement. He also received 10 iPods, an iMac, and a call from Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
[ 71 ] The age of Louie Sulcer of Georgia, on Feb. 10, 2010, when he downloaded the ten billionth song on iTunes. The song he purchased? “Guess Things Happen That Way” by Johnny Cash.
[ $149 ] The cost of the entire box set of Beatles music on iTunes. After a three-decade long battle between the Fab Four’s Apple Corp and the computer company – primarily over the name and symbol for Apple – the living members of the band finally consented to releasing their entire catalogue on iTunes on Nov. 16, 2010.
[ 0 ] The number of albums on the iTunes Store from Garth Brooks, Tool, and Ozzy Osbourne-era Black Sabbath.
[ 25 billion ] The number of downloads on iTunes as of Feb. 6, 2013. The song was sold in Germany to Phillip Lupke, who bought “Monkey Drums (Goksel Vancin Remix)” by Chase Buch.
[ 63 percent ] Share of the download-music sales market that Apple commands according to a report by research firm NDP, released on April 16.
[ 119 ] The number of countries in which the iTunes store is available.
Source: TIME (by Megan Gibson)
Believe it or not, Apple’s iTunes Music Store turns 10 this weekend. Although iTunes has in many ways been a godsend to fans of digital music, it has been a source of endless frustration for the music industry.
Since the introduction the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, music sales have plummeted in the United States — from $11.8 billion in 2003 to $7.1 billion last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. When adjusted for inflation, revenue has been more than halved since Apple launched the iTunes Music Store.
Interestingly, during that same time, people have been buying more music than ever. How is that possible? It’s because the iTunes Music Store popularized the cheap digital single.
After manhandling the major record labels during a series of now-legendary negotiations, then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs was able to initially offer digital albums for $10 and any individual track off that album for 99 cents.
That changed the music industry forever. When music sales reached their peak in 2000, Americans bought 943 million CD albums, and digital sales weren’t even a blip on the radar. By 2007, however, those inexpensive digital singles overtook CDs — by a wide margin — generating 819 million sales to just 500 million for the CD.
Last year, there were 1.4 billion digital singles sold, dwarfing CD sales by a factor of 7. More than three-quarters of all music-related transactions were digital singles last year, according to the RIAA.
Apple’s iTunes is behind that sea change. According to NPD estimates, iTunes is currently responsible for 63% of all digital music sales. Even after the emergence of competition from Amazon and Google.
The popularity and ease of downloading cheap digital singles has transformed the industry. Not since the vinyl era has the single been this popular. The smaller, cheaper “45” record dominated music in the 1950s and ’60s, but the music industry wised up in the ’70s.
Vinyl, cassette and CD singles were always cheaper for consumers, but manufacturing costs were not. Nor was the space required to house them in stores. Thus, the single became harder and harder to come by.
The reality is if singles were as available a decade ago as they are now, they would have been just as popular. Music nerds notwithstanding, the average music listener has really only cared about a few tracks off an album at most.
So how was it that the iTunes Music Store, with its proprietary file format and limited device support, that led this charge?
By the time the iTunes Music Store arrived, the iPod was well on its way to becoming a run away success, which meant that Apple already had an installed base of customers using iTunes.
Competitors, such as Rhapsody, were mostly concerned with streaming music. Most crucially, their files weren’t designed for use on the iPod, let alone most other MP3 players.
Without the iPod, iTunes and its music store were seemingly innocuous. But the magical combination of buying a song instantly and taking it with you anywhere gave music lovers a good reason to ditch the CD.
Can music sales ever come back? Likely not, says NPD analyst Russ Crupnick. He believes musicians will have to increasingly rely on touring, merchandise sales and endorsement deals to make up for lost album sales.
The subscription streaming services of Spotify and other music apps could help bolster the business, Crupnick says, but the thought of those bringing the industry back to its former peak seems lofty.
Ironically, it could be Apple that is in danger of losing its grip on the music business. Whether or not Apple can maintain its relevance in digital music could very well depend on its ability to transition to the streaming subscription model, which is rapidly adding users.
Nevertheless, the iTunes Music Store’s effect on the way people buy music over the past 10 years has ensured that the music industry will never again be the same.
Source: CNN Money (by Adrian Covert)
A federal judge in New York rejected ReDigi’s “first sale doctrine” defense and ruled that the company must stop re-selling track purchased legally on iTunes and elsewhere. The ruling is a major victory for plaintiff Capital Records and the major labels. Redigi, however, vowed to fight on.
“Courts have consistently held that the unauthorized duplication of digital music files over the Internet infringes a copyright owner’s exclusive right to reproduce,” Judge Sullivan wrote. “However, courts have not previously addressed whether the unauthorized transfer of a digital music file over the Internet - where only one file exists before and after the transfer - constitutes reproduction within the meaning of the Copyright Act. The court holds that it does.”
Future versions of the Redigi platform, already in development, could address the judges objections, a company spokesman told CNet after the ruling.
Redigi’s currently technology first makes a copy of the digital file, and then deletes the original before re-sale. Both Amazon and Apple have filed their patents in recent weeks with their own approaches to digital resale.
Capital Records sought $150,000 per infringement, and while the judge has not yet awarded damages, he seems inclined to. In his decision, Judge Sullivan wrote:
“ReDigi facilitates and profits from the sale of copyrighted commercial recordings, transferred in their entirety, with a likely detrimental impact on the primary market for these goods. It is beside the point that the original phonorecord no longer exists. It matters only that a new phonorecord has been created.”
Source: Hypebot (by Bruce Houghton)
Apple announced Wednesday that customers have purchased 25 billion songs from the iTunes store.
The 25 billionth song purchased was “Monkey Drums” by Chase Buch and it was bought by a man in Germany who will receive an iTunes gift card worth about $13,500.
“We are grateful to our users whose passion for music over the past 10 years has made iTunes the number one music retailer in the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a statement. Cue added that iTunes users now download an average of more than 15,000 songs per minute through the service.
Apple launched the iTunes music store in 2003 and it took a little more than two years to sell one billion songs and another four years after that to hit the 10 billion song mark.
While 25 billion songs is certainly an impressive number — the equivalent of more than three songs for every man, woman and child on the planet — it still pales in comparison to the number of apps that have been downloaded. More than 40 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store to date, though of course many of these are free.
Source: Mashable (by Seth Feigerman)
NEWS: Apple Streaming Radio Rumors Are Confirmed by Bloomberg News
NEWS: Apple Unveils New iTunes, Releases on Sept. 19
What it means:
DEBATE: Is Apple’s New “Pandora Service” the Next “Ping” or Something Huge?
[UPDATE: Pandora’s stock sinks over latest Apple news]
On September 12th, the world might be introduced to more than just the iPhone 5, but iTunes’ next big move. While super companies like Google and Apple can screw up from time to time (Google Wave, Ping or Apple TV), they’re also super companies for a reason. According to Hypebot, there are rumors that Apple is ready to announce a streaming service within iTunes in order to compete with Spotify and Pandora. The immediate reaction is: okay, so this is another Ping, right?
Not so fast. Ping was an integrated iTunes service that worked like a social network to provide social profiles to musicians and allow iTunes users to share playlists. When iTunes is rumored to be making a “Pandora” service, that means a different thing; Pandora is a radio site, not a profile-sharing site. Critics wouldn’t be comparing this move as a move to close the gap on music streamers if it was just going to be another social network service like Ping.
Does that mean it won’t fail like Ping? Of course not. It’s going to be interesting how Apple tries to integrate a radio service within a download-heavy behemoth. How do you balance it? How will labels react Apple’s rates for plays? There are only questions here, but it’s interesting to see how this could change the playing field with iTunes in regards to every streaming service on the web. It’s foreseeable that iTunes could render these services irrelevant if iTunes can offer something of the same thing. It will probably be free since Apple scrapped the idea of a subscription-based service, so that’s an immediate threat to Spotify whose still gunning for paid subscriptions in the long run.
This all could be absolutely nothing, but if it’s something…look out.
GarageBand, the popular music-making application for the Mac desktop operating system and the iPad, is now available for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, Apple has announced.
GarageBand, which was released along with iMovie for the iPad in March of this year, has been scaled down in size to fit the smaller screens of the iPhone and iPod Touch and is selling for $4.99 in the App Store.
According to TechCrunch, Apple concurrently let out Version 1.1 of GarageBand for iPad, with features that will be available across all iOS devices, including custom chords for Smart Instruments and new time signatures like 3/4 and 6/8.
It’s early, but the first reviews are already out from Wired and MacWorld. Both had good things to say about the mini-GarageBand, with Wired calling it “a welcome addition to any mildly creative person’s iPhone or iPod touch.”
The GarageBand app is available here for download for iPhone 3GS and up, iPod Touch and the iPad in the App Store.
Check out screenshots of the scaled-down GarageBand app for iPhone (below).
Article originally appeared on The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com) and was written by Jason Gilbert.
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