More on iTunes sales

TUAW links to the Macalope’s previous post and says:

Of course, The Macalope asks ‘who cares?’ to all this worry of how the iTS is doing, but Geoff Duncan at Digital Trends reminds us of some interesting potential shifts in the digital distribution model that could depend directly on how well present offerings fair.

The Macalope did address that issue by noting that the recording industry could come up with something more heinous than DRM. Duncan’s piece is mostly a summary of some pieces done by the Register’s Andrew Orlowski. The Macalope wouldn’t call Orlowski biased, but he’s clearly got his ideas of how this is all gonna go down and — while he eventually may be proved correct — he’s lost some objectivity in his trumpting of Forrester’s research.

Of Forrester’s numbers Orlowski writes:

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.

Uh, right. That’s like saying anything bought at the Gap as a present shouldn’t count in their sales figures because the person who receives it didn’t make the purchase and may not have wanted it. Note to Orlowski, if a gift card comes from the iTunes Store, it’s something customers are actually prepared to pay for. The gift card purchaser is the customer, not the person who downloads the songs.

Now, no one but Apple knows if gift card sales are enough to make iTunes sales figures all sunshine and puppies, but pretending they somehow don’t count is simply engaging in argumentative assery.

Still, there is substantial evidence that the recording companies have lost that loving feeling for DRM. And if they’ve decided that DRM is a failure — both in keeping people from illegaly copying music and putting them in a position of strength when negotiating with technology companies — they will start seeking other ways to extract their pound of flesh.

One way is a “tax” on the devices and the other is a “tax” on the Internet.

The Macalope supposes just paying for DRM-free music directly is out of the question.

  • Paul Chernoff:

    The recording industry. Let’s see. They tried to put stores that sold used CDs out of business. They argued that if someone bought a record and wanted to listen to that record in a car, they should pay for a pre-recorded cassette (never mind the terrible quality of these cassettes and that you already paid for the record). How they wanted to handle party tapes is unknown to me.

    I would be more ready to agree that computers and iPods have made it easier than ever to make high quality copies of CDs and to illegally distribute them if the recording industry didn’t have such a tainted history. I believe that they won’t be happy until we have the day that you have to pay money every time to listen to music.

    So now they want an ‘iPod’ tax. Perfect, a revenue stream based on sitting back, collecting money and doing nothing.

  • I think you meant so say “how well present offerings fair [sic].” I know, I know, but if they’re going to publish a weblog in a cheesy newsy voice they picked up reading CNET, they should try to correctly replicate the cliches they string together.

  • Peter:

    “I believe that they won’t be happy until we have the day that you have to pay money every time to listen to music.”

    Actually, they do. It’s called “suibscription services.” One of the things that happens when you sync your music with a subscription service is that the record companies get paid for every time you play a song.

  • John Muir:

    Final roars of a dying dinosaur. Their business model’s broken. Music is so transparent to move around online now controlling it’s like trying to make sandcastles while the tide comes in. Game’s over people, go home.

    Of course there are still some straws for the record business to clutch, hoping to cling to life. The somewhat leery laws around intellectual property and copyright are there to be abused and their lawyers will be entreating them to do that. You know like the other Apple…

    The fact that Steve Jobs is now in control of the one plausible way the record industry has to survive intact is quite galling for the bosses I’m sure. It’s deal with him on his terms, or revert to the dark shadows of litigation, fear mongering, and guaranteed destruction. If I were a label exec, I’d give up on the lost hopes and just iTS all the way, keeping an eye on the DRM free market if it ever catches on, and praying that CD sales plug the holes. The role for labels now is to find new talent and promote the hell out of it as creatively as they can. They still have the bucks and the contacts to make new acts big that even perfect viral campaigns can only dream of. But you try telling them that.

    Technology melted their marketspace, and no one’s shedding tears. Deal with it.

  • Andy:

    I’m looking forward to the days where we can just take what we like from stores, because I don’t know about you but I’m sick of having to pay for things. Hey – it worked for music on the internet, so it must be right if enough people do it ? Right ?

    Right ?

  • Gary Patterson:

    “The Macalope wouldn’t call Orlowski biased…” but I bloody would!

    I used to read The Register, and Orlowski would write the most biased articles about the evils of the iTMS all the time. After a while I realised that he was out of step with reality, and then his viewpoint made a lot more sense. Still wrong, but with an internal logic. Like a bad videogame plot or pulp fiction novel.

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