Editorial: Can the iTunes Music Store sustain its new momentum?
By Peter Cohen
On April 28, Apple celebrated the one-year anniversary of the iTunes Music Store by releasing a new version of iTunes, introducing some new features to the store and making some important changes to the underlying technology that makes the whole thing work. The result? A lot more people bought songs last week — about 3.3 million all told, up from a 2.7 million weekly run rate leading up the announcement.
Apple also gave away some birthday presents to iTunes Music Store customers — free songs from the store every day for a week. That free song deal is now a permanent, weekly fixture. Apple said this week that about 500,000 free songs had been downloaded — a number not included in the 3.3 million song figure.
Why’d the number of users jump up so much last week? At the time of the one-year anniversary announcement, analysts said that the free tunes were likely to be a draw. Apple also reworked its Digital Rights Management (DRM) so that five Macs can play the same songs bought from the iTunes Music Store, up from three. There was a reduction in the number of times a playlist can be burned to CD — seven, down from 10 — but most users seem happy with the tradeoff.
It remains to be seen if the better than 20 percent jump in iTunes Music Store traffic this past week is a sustainable figure or just a momentary flurry of excitement generated by the store’s new features and the buzz around the anniversary, but it’s still an impressive figure in context. Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently told the press that iTunes Music Store turned a small profit this past quarter. Many of Apple’s competitors in the digital music space are still trying to make money, and the heat’s just getting turned up now from major players Sony and Microsoft.
Apple’s the market leader in this sector right now, and let’s hope that the company can keep it up. It’s a big world out there, and so far, the iTunes Music Store is only available in the United States. The timing of Apple’s introduction of the iTunes Music Store to foreign markets and the depth and breadth of its library offering to those markets is key to the company’s sustained success as a digital music powerhouse going forward.
(Peter Cohen, Senior Editor for MacCentral, supplies this week’s guest editorial.)
Jobs to preview Mac OS X Tiger at WWDC Keynote
Apple CEO Steve Jobs will preview Mac OS X Tiger at the company’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco on June 28, 2004. Jobs will give the keynote address for the conference on Monday, June 28, 2004 at 10:00 am.
iTunes Music Store sets 3.3 million song weekly record
Apple deal may push Maine iBook program to high schools
Apple releases May Security Update
EU investigates music copyright associations; Apple waits
Free software project undaunted despite Apple threats
Apple extends iBook logic board repair program
Apple has extended the scope of its iBook logic board repair program to include models manufactured from May 2002 to October 2003. The original program, launched in late January, only covered iBooks made up to April 2003.
Sonnet intros Dual 1.33GHz G4 processor upgrade
Kodak intros new EasyShare printer dock, digital cameras
FireFly 4800 RAID tower: up to 1TB in 9-inch footprint
Asante adds AppleTalk, WPA to FriendlyNET router
Alias: Maya Complete 6 now shipping
Alias announced that Maya Complete 6 is now shipping globally to both new customers and those who are upgrading. The new version features re-architected Trax non-linear animation, new motion retargeting and motion redirection capabilities, enhanced scene management and more. System requirements call for Mac OS X v.10.2.4, a G4 or G5 processor, 512MB RAM and 450MB hard drive space. Pricing is US$1.999 for the full version or $899 for the upgrade.
AccountEdge 2004 Network Edition ships
Microsoft releases MSN Messenger 4.0
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic coming to Mac
Six Degrees 2 ‘desktop search engine’ gets new interface
CoLocalizer Pro helps analyze cellular function
Around the Web
Bill Gates to pay $800,000 stock-trading fine
Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates has agreed to pay a US$800,000 civil penalty to settle charges that he violated stock-buying requirements in 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday.
Former Disney director says Jobs could fix company
Longhorn tastes the Apple
Apple criticized for security advisories
It’s time for an iPod IPO
Gartner: Phishing attacks up against US consumers
Why Apple Stores have to be unlike anything else retail has ever seen
Basics of Offscreen Buffering
Using your mobile phone as a wireless modem (Apple Knowledge Base)