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September 17, 2006

iTunes In Trouble? I Don't Think So...

As popular as it is or once was to trash Microsoft and all things related to the Redmond software monolith, Apple has recently received its share of potshots from people eager to see the company's leadership in online music sales and MP3 players erode. A recent doomsday-like article out of the BBC says that the iPod has lost its cool, now that they are as ubiquitous as MySpace pages, "Digg This" buttons and Google AdSense. The article goes even further saying that the average iTunes user is avoiding the iTunes store, and that the average iPod user has only purchased a few dozen songs.

This is derived from the overly simplistic math that with 1 billion-plus songs sold on the iTunes store, and 60 million iPods floating about returns a iTunes/iPod ratio of about 20.

Now, while I may be on the lunatic fringe, my own iTunes spending habits have been fairly regular, ever since the store opened in early 2003 (around the time I got married). In fact, the major impacts on any lulls in purchasing can usually be tied to:

* New music or lack thereof from tracked artists
* Willingness to spend money (especially when funds are tight)
* Available time to look at new artists or music

My iTunes library reports that I currently have 3,495 songs, of which I purchased 1,179 songs from the iTunes store, a 34% rate. The overwhelming majority of other tracks were ripped from CDs I already owned, or from DJs who make their music available online for download.

From April 28, 2003 to June 30, 2003, I purchased:  114 songs
From July 1, 2003 to December 31, 2003, I purchased: 69 songs
From January 1, 2004 to June 30, 2004, I purchased: 136 songs
From July 1, 2004 to December 31, 2004, I purchased: 285 songs
From January 1, 2005 to June 30, 2005, I purchased: 129 songs
From July 1, 2005 to December 31, 2005, I purchased: 181 songs
From January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2006, I purchased: 236 songs

And since July 1 of this year, I've purchased an additional 29 songs. Okay, maybe I'm nuts. But if you look at my buying history, you see consistent purchases since the introduction of the store, and I know I'm not alone. Even if I may be in the higher echelon of iTunes customers, it would take a million people just like me to bring the store to a billion tracks purchased.

It's a lot of fun to target the leader - and expect Apple will be brought down by music-playing cell phones, by Microsoft or Sony, or even Google, but nobody has yet found an integrated inexpensive, simple way to enjoy your music the way that Apple has. And honestly, it's not a Mac vs. PC thing. It's simply a better way to do things altogether. That's why nobody else is taking away Apple's throne.

Listening to ''Reach Out (Technikal Remix)'', by Elemental (Play Count: 6)