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NBC report blames poor album sales on iPod, iTunes

updated 11:55 am EST, Tue February 12, 2008

NBC: Apple hurting albums

Album sales have declined rapidly in recent years, and Apple bears a large responsibility, NBC claims. The TV network notes that although R&B singer Alicia Keys debuted her new album at the top of the Billboard album charts last week, this amounted to only 61,000 or so discs, nearly the lowest amount for a number-one album in Billboard history. Album sales fell 15 percent as a whole in 2007, the sixth annual decrease since 2000; artists who were once able to sell 10 to 15 million copies of an album may now be fortunate to reach 1 million.

The reason, says NBC, is that people are switching en masse to digital downloads, as evidenced by sales of 120 million iPods since 2001. More critically, people are often choosing to buy songs individually, instead of collections that may contain mediocre tracks or filler. Purchases of individual tracks are said to have grown 500 percent within the last three years.

Imagery and language in the report implicates iTunes, which is the largest source of digital music sales and frequently ties people to iPods through use of Apple's FairPlay DRM restrictions. On the iTunes Store, people can buy most tracks for 99 cents, cheaper even than would be possible with a CD single.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Why Filler

    The record companies allowed songs to be sold separately, and have generated income from this. This certainly should be taken into account. How many single songs have been sold from Alica Keys' new album?

    In an odd sort of way, this is like going back to the 50's and early sixties, where people bought singles on 45's (anyone remember those?), and album sales were not really a factor until huge Beatles' albums like Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    no lock in...

    I love how there always has to be the customary reference to iTunes lock in, when there is no such thing - particularly with iTunes Plus tracks that can be played anywhere and on anything.

    Aside from that, the majority of content on iPods is ripped content, from the user's own collection - hardly locked in.

    Nevertheless, it does fascinate me how many people mindlessly buy iTunes songs and albums, when purchasing used CDs is a better way to get the same music.

    Mind you, not complaining. Keeps my AAPL stock healthy :-)

  1. jHal08

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Music competes with..

    They keep comparing to previous years... So I will too.

    Five years ago... I wasn't buying $50 video games for Wii, PS3 I wasn't paying $70 a month for DirecTV I wasn't paying $18 a month for Netflix I wasn't paying $200 a month for at&t four person family plan etc....

    Lower those other services and I'd have more money for music.

  1. MacnTX

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    NBC Needs To Learn

    The lesson for NBC and the record labels here is that they need to get their stuff on iTunes then. Problem solved. Buying entire albums on CDs is slowly dying and these dinosaurs need to get that fact thru their thick skulls.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    the market has spoken

    this is like buggy-whip manufacturers complaining that their sales are suffering thanks to the oil companies.

    But, oh, it' iTunes/Apple's fault! If only evil Apple didn't exist, people wouldn't be buying from iTunes and we could go back to the old days when people just pirated music instead to get their digital downloads.

    Oh, wait...

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    sue them!

    maybe these rocket scientists should get the RIAA to sue Apple/iTunes out of existence for taking away their god-given right to rape music customers. After all, that strategy has worked so well so far that it has completely stamped out digital music piracy.

    Oh, wait...

  1. sixcolors

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    CD sales down...

    We'll yeah. Who cares. I'd say the distributers are lumbering dinosaurs and they they will soon become extinct.

    You aren't needed anymore.

    p.s. the Fairplay lock is your fault not Apples, they are asking labels to sell iTunes Plus which is DRM free... if you did that you end the supposed 'lock in'.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    why not compare to

    why not compare to 8 track as well. I mean CD sales and digital downloads are killing them. How can they make money on 8 tracks as long as walmart sells CDs and Apple sells digital downloads?

    Oh wait no one makes 8 track any more. No wonder why they track sales through albums. Here's a hint, albums ate going away as well. Better start tracking digital downloads!

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Here's an idea

    Why don't artists sell songs as they record them? I mean there are very few entire CDs I enjoy and so only buy the tracks I like. You would get a constant revenue stream and be more consistently in the publics eye/mind share. You would obviate the need for major release advertising/promotion, further removing the need for labels to promote you.

    Just a thought.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Stupid c**** at NBC

    When will they learn the CDs are over priced. They want people to buy more CDs lower the price. I buy a average of 4 DVDs a month, $40 bucks and once in a while I'll get a new release because I just have to have it. I refuse to pay near 20 bucks for a single album. If Albums where 10 bucks, I would be buying 4 a month as well. At current prices I do not get enough value for the price so I dont buy any.

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