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Print 27 comment(s) - last by MisterChristop.. on Apr 8 at 10:29 PM

The iPod and iTunes giant gets a bit confused about its current market position

Since last February, Apple has constantly proclaimed itself the number 2 music retailer, second only to retail giant Wal-Mart.  Apple had long trailed Best Buy for the third spot, and the February announcement that it had passed Best Buy took on a celebratory note.  Such a position was certainly respectable stated observers, and thanks no doubt, to Apple's rejuvenated iPod sales from its refreshed line.

However, something strange happened when a memo from the NPD group music survey was intercepted by Ars Technica.  The memo read that Apple was really number 1, having passed Wal-Mart and Best Buy.  So which was it?  Apple, well known for its sardonic "Mac and PC guy" ads, certainly did not seem the type of company to purposefully miss a chance to toot its own horn, so to speak.

Well it appears some confusion overtook Apple, as it released a statement saying that it was actually number 1 in January and February, contradicting its own previous report.  Stated Apple last week:

Apple® today announced that the iTunes® Store (www.itunes.com) surpassed Wal-Mart to become the number one music retailer in the US, based on the latest data from the NPD Group*(see footnote).

*(footnote) Based on data from market research firm the NPD Group’s MusicWatch survey that captures consumer reported past week unit purchases and counts one CD representing 12 tracks, excluding wireless transactions. The iTunes Store became the largest music retailer in the US based on the amount of music sold during January and February 2008.

Many observers believe that Apple's new lead was thanks in part to heavy holiday sales of iTunes gift cards. 

Apple's announcement is likely an attempt to drum up some excitement to overshadow the recent deal between MySpace and three of the major music labels to release an iTunes competitor.

Why do the announcement and the confusion preceding it matter?  Chiefly, the confusion certainly induces a bit of havoc upon investors and analysts who tend to rely heavily on such announcements to make their decisions on stocks.  Secondly, it indicates that Apple missed a major advertising opportunity to promote its new found dominance, thanks to some snafu.

Despite the humorous nature of the situation, online music is no laughing matter for Apple.  Apple has worked hard to hold onto its 70 percent stake in the MP3 market. And with the number of teens -- the primary music buyers -- not buying a CD rising from 38 percent to 48 percent between 2006 and 2007, all indications are that if you want to succeed in the music business, you are going to have to succeed online.

This is the second embarrassing logistical oversight from Apple in the last month.  At the end of the last month it was revealed that Apple's iTunes software had unintentionally encouraged massive violation of Apple's Safari browser's EULA, possibly millions of times, by encouraging non-Mac hardware users to download the browser.



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RE: apple itunes may be number 1
By oab on 4/8/2008 10:54:45 AM , Rating: 2
Uhhh.... iTunes installs iTunes, and Quicktime, it installs Quicktime because that's the music playing engine iTunes uses. The other two services that get added are ones to detect when an iPod is plugged in and start iTunes so that you can sync it (that behaviour can be turned off)

Despite the lack of various sorting abilities that media monkey might have, who uses them? If you want to find something, use the search bubble for instant results.

Despite that the iTunes music store has DRM on it, even though Amazon sells DRM free MP3 files, I still won't buy from either service because: I want the ability to TRUE cd-quality sound, not just "I'm using laptop speakers, I can't tell the difference" quality.


By omnicronx on 4/8/2008 11:03:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Uhhh.... iTunes installs iTunes, and Quicktime, it installs Quicktime because that's the music playing engine iTunes uses. The other two services that get added are ones to detect when an iPod is plugged in and start iTunes so that you can sync it (that behaviour can be turned off)
I uninstalled itunes the day I got my laptop, and yet ituneshelper.exe is still a running process. When I uninstall a program, I expect it to uninstall all services pertaining to the program. It's not like it was a seperate entity that I clicked on during the install. The more crap Apple bundles with their software, the less appealing it becomes. (even for the village idiot)


By omnicronx on 4/8/2008 11:10:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I want the ability to TRUE cd-quality sound, not just "I'm using laptop speakers, I can't tell the difference" quality.
I am with you, but right now pretty much all you can do is go buy the CD, as you wont be seeing any PCM wav tracks anytime soon, and the best lossless encoders (FLAC etc) can compress only it about 2x.

256VBR mp3 is very close to CD quality, anything more is just overkill (for the mp3 algorithm at least). I would maybe consider buying mp3s online if the mp3's had a sufficient bitrate.

p.s you maybe in for a change though, NIN just recently gave the choice of downloading in mp3 or flac if you paid 5 dollars for their new CD.


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