iTunes has become the seventh largest music retailer in the US, competing with high street music stores.
New research from the NPD Group shows iTunes climbing from last year’s fourteenth place to become as powerful as most music stores on the high street, and predicted the service would edge out more stores by the end of the year.
The iTunes Music Store beat out Tower Records, Sam Goody and Borders in NPD’s third quarter ranking to crack the top ten for the first time ever, the research claimed. iTunes’ fast ascension to seventh place reflects the speed at which users are turning to music online.
Eight years ago, just after I signed to EMI, I remember saying to one of their head lawyers that they’d better start investing in net technologies. He shrugged off my advice, saying that “copyright is our business” and therefore major labels would stop the internet having any effect on music retail.
I wonder if he remembers my advice now…
Admittedly, it was hardly a Nostradamus-like prediction: any geek worth his or her salt could have seen what was coming. Sadly, major labels don’t employ geeks so this whole cyberwent thing has caught them rather on the hop. Poor things! They’re like silent film stars the year The Jazz Singer came out.
So, well done Apple! But imagine how many more sales iTunes would gain if you actually charged reasonable prices, instead of the same or more than the price of a physical CD.
This is merely a transitional phase. One form of retail has been replaced by another. But in the future, all retail will be producer to customer. Shops will be quaint relics, serving only those curious oldsters who can’t get to grips with a mouse and a keyboard.
Now, if I could just get Apple to acknowledge my existence and let me get my label on iTunes… sigh…