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How iTunes Singles Killed The Music Industry

iTunes Format Chart

Whilst the next generation of music consumers are a couple of years away from hitting the teenage dream, it seems as if Apples iTunes has been with us forever. Indeed iTunes has for the duration of the next impressionable age range, but the fact is that iTunes turns the big 10 this weekend. So in a decade of legitimate digital consumption what has this platform done for the music industry? If you asked the average person they would believe that the music software platform iTunes has been at the forefront of a revolution, been the resistance to piracy, and brought control back to consumer and a struggling industry; so lets look at some statistics...


Recently research was conducted by the IFPI into just this issue and CNN Money responded with a rather damming report that is headed with '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'. If we just look to the graph above, you will notice that with regards to music unit sales, since the introduction iTunes CD album downloads have been seriously choaked by the availability of single track downloads within the base rate of 99c or 79p that iTunes charges for an individual track outside of the album. Indeed if we take into consideration inflation between 2003 and 2012, the US music industry has halved since iTunes was released but the interesting thing here is that more people are buying music than ever; so how can these two facts be possible? Now if you are one of the minority that would believe that this is just a natural trend seen within the transition of every 'modern' music platform release, then you may be convinced on the state of play with a few more facts and figures.


In CNN's report it is highlighted that '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.' In continuation it is another fact that in 2012, in total 1.4 billion singles which, by seven times, dwarfed album sales and in an industry where Apple's iTunes holds a 63% stake in all digital music sales the conclusion is clear. Overall the music industry is between a rock and a hard place and it has to be made clear that iTunes has done some good for the industry. However, record labels need to make a profit in tough times and it seems as if everything that is done to strengthen the industry is counterproductive, but it will be hard to break a consumption pattern that has been homegrown for a decade. Let's see where the next ten years lead us...


Edd Harris

Whilst the next generation of music consumers are a couple of years away from hitting the teenage dream, it seems as if Apples iTunes has been with us forever. Indeed iTunes has for the duration of the next impressionable age range, but the fact...

Edd Harris  - 26th April 2013

Article Ref: #HowiTunesKilledTheIndustry