iPod fans not ‘shunning iTunes store’ (or any other digital music store)

17 Sep ’06

I don’t know quite what to make of the BBC story today titled “iPod fans ‘shunning iTunes store'”:

The Jupiter Research report reveals that, on average, only 20 of the tracks on a iPod will be from the iTunes shop.

Far more important to iPod owners, said the study, was free music ripped from CDs someone already owned or acquired from file-sharing sites.

And so on, in that vein. A photo caption in the story reads: “Most of the music on an iPod is not from iTunes, reveals report”. “Reveals”, because, I suppose, that was something you didn’t already know. And, of course, they are shocked, shocked to discover that there is still sharing going on.

People have now been buying CDs for over 20 years and music from iTunes and the like for about 3, and the BBC (and, I’ll assume, the Jupiter research report their story is based on) seem surprised that iPods contain on average “only” 20 songs purchased from iTunes. Mp3 players have taken the world by storm. iTunes alone has sold tens of (now hundreds of?) millions of downloads. If this isn’t success – if it isn’t already a revolution in the way music is sold and consumed – what exactly will that look like when it comes? Of course digital music distribution has a long way to go. For further explanation of this concept, see “new”.

The Jupiter report, the BBC informs us, warns against making “simple characterisations of the music-buying public that divide people into those that pay and those that pirate.” It ought to have warned us of simple characterizations of the industry from an incurious media.

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