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Music taking on diminished importance at Apple?

updated 09:55 am EDT, Fri September 18, 2009

May put record labels in precarious position

Apple is gradually de-emphasizing music in its business, a policy which could have much broader ramifications, a report argues. Although the company's iPod and iTunes updates on September 9th were nominally themed around music, the company notably placed a stronger focus on games, as well as the video camera added to the iPod nano. Music was only essential in terms of iTunes, with the addition of Genius Mixes, iTunes LP and a new iTunes Store layout.

The App Store is believed to be the current center of Apple's attention, as iPod sales are flattening after years of growth. The problem, says BusinessWeek, is that record labels are now more dependent than ever on Apple, as some 90 percent of US digital music sales are handled through the iTunes Store, and approximately 75 percent of all media players sold are iPods. CD sales are continuing to fall, which means that without Apple's help, the record industry will further shrink.

"Our biggest concern would be if they started resting on their laurels," says an unidentified senior label executive. "We need them to continue innovating."

Apple management insists that music is still important to the company, to the extent that the size of its music team has been increasing for the past two years. iTunes Store downloads, meanwhile, are said to be growing quickly. The company is also opening the App Store to services which compete with iTunes, such as Rhapsody, which does redirect some sales to Apple but also offers rival sales and subscriptions.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    What report?

    How about a link to the article? On the face of it, the hypothesis is interesting but seemingly false. They hold a media event called "It's only rock and roll" hosted by Steve Jobs and keep growing their music team, so it doesn't seem like much of a problem.

    I do like the music industry fighting Apple whenever Apple proposes anything and then pointing out the "Apple needs to keep innovating" to keep them healthy. But I would rather read the real article whereever it may be found.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    Music suits

    "Our biggest concern would be if they started resting on their laurels," says an unidentified senior label executive. "We need them to continue innovating."

    So does that mean music industry douchebags have finally decided to be grateful to Apple and Steve Jobs? Or are they saying this out of one side of their mouths while out of the other side calling Apple the Great Satan?

  1. DanielSw

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Ridiculous premise

    Must be a slow news day again.

    Isn't Apple now the #1 download music retailer? You don't achieve that status by giving music "diminished importance". Why do you people keep trying to stretch the truth?

    Of all the ways to perceive the new iPod Nano, you pick the wrong way, trying desperately to stir up controversy any way you can.

    Apple throws in a FREE video camera and gives the thing a voice recorder, a pedometer, and gaming capabilities, all to make it more salable and desirable as what it STILL IS--an iPOD! But noooooooo, you conveniently ignore the gift horse and keep peering down its mouth for any kind of malaise you can dream up!

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Do your own innovating...

    "We need THEM to continue innovating."? What a sad sad state of affairs for the record industry - waiting for someone else to innovate. He better stay unidentified before he gets fired for making such a stupid comment. If you did more of your own dam innovating, that comment wouldn't even be necessary. Go dust off your own stupid laurels which you've been resting on since the invention of the compact disc.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    idiot analysts Bleaaaach

    " as iPod sales are flattening after years of growth." Apple has 75+ of the mp3 player market. Just how long does anyone expect them to SELL MORE each year.... Constant sales means a lot in a shrinking market.



    "as some 90 percent of US digital music sales are handled through the iTunes Store, " Analysts will not be happy until Apple has 150 percent of all sales in the world......

    Does the term "physically impossible" every come into these peoples heads....
    er......
    NOPE ! :-)

    Just a thought.
    en

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    If by de-emphasizing

    they mean, publicly emphasizing other aspects of the company's business, then yeah. It certainly doesn't mean Apple will stop innovating. It "could" indicate that it's a robust and stable market with little demand for more product offerings in that category at this time.

  1. JohnFromBeyond

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Differentiating, not de-emphasizing

    Ridiculous assertion on the heels of an event dedicated to revamping their music players. Apple is simply GROWING the MP3 player market by adding new features. And the only reason that ipod sales are flattening is that the iphone is taking that market segment -- and the iphone is still a music player, too. Overall hardware revenues keep going up, music sales keep going up.

    For Pete's sake, they hired Nora Jones to sing live at this event!

    -John

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Re: What report?

    How about a link to the article?

    Maybe the article isn't available for public review.

    On the face of it, the hypothesis is interesting but seemingly false. They hold a media event called "It's only rock and roll" hosted by Steve Jobs and keep growing their music team, so it doesn't seem like much of a problem.

    Well, they hold a media event, and they spend most of the time talking up the iPhone and the new iPod touch, touting it as a great GAMING device (but we think it still plays music).

    Oh, and a one more thing on adding a camera to a nano! Woohoo!

    What music stuff did they really push? Useless album extras. Redesigned iTunes interface (because someone at Apple apparently realized all the Apple apps in Snow Leopard finally looked consistent, and we can't have that!).

    Yeah, a real 'music' oriented event.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Just a thought here

    For those who did not like the title of the event....... ITS APPLE..... FGS.
    They are trying to keep the event topics a SECRET so they come up with a GENERAL title.

    Its just a thought here but I would say the event was about their iPod/touch/phone -- ie mp3 player part of hardware. :-)

    en

  1. Aeolius

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Does this mean...

    So... no "Farm Animals" or "Bodily Functions" Jam Packs for GarageBand, then?

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