updated 03:25 pm EDT, Thu April 6, 2006
Survey may aid Apple
A new survey may help Apple fight the pricing pressures applied by the music labels. The national telephone survey of enrolled college students commissioned by the Richmond Virginia-based Intellectual Property Institute (IPI) found that that 39 percent of college students claim to pay for downloads, while 34 percent illegally download music from peer-to-peer networks. With a signficant population of college students still focused on peer-to-peer networks, any increases in pricing could tip the scales toward piracy. The poll revealed that three-quarters of 18 to 24-year-old students see free downloading as illegal, and 60 percent believe it to be unethical. The survey also showed that more than one in three students who engage in illegal file-sharing think it is wrong, but do it anyway to save money. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has argued against demands by record labels for more flexible pricing, saying that cheap digital downloads will reduce piracy.
In June of 2005, an NPD study found that Apple's iTunes Music Store was more popular than peer-to-peer download services, solidifying Jobs' claims that iTunes would help both the record labels and Apple amidst declining retail CD sales.
Late October of 2005 revealed that iTunes was more popular than ever, with no sign of slowing. Apple simultaneously expanded its reach by launching an Australian version of the iTunes Music Store and announced that it had sold 600 million songs worldwide, claiming 80 percent marketshare in most of the 20 countries it then served.
Then, another poll in December of 2005 surfaced showing that piracy was still abundant, suggesting that more than half of consumers still downloaded music illegally over the internet despite attempts by record labels to halt the sharing of copyrighted works. The data seemed to suggest that Apple's chief was mistaken in his beliefs that low-cost digital downloads would curb illegal downloaders, and contradicted yet another study by NPD's Music and Movies division which suggested that legal digital music sales with low pricing are a key factor in fighting the war on piracy.
Then, on Thursday February 23rd of 2006, the iTunes Music Store made history when Apple announced that it had sold its one billionth song just after 12:30 a.m. "To every iTunes Music Store customer, thanks a billion," the company said.