Only 20 songs downloaded per iPod? So what?

I came across this story on NPR, and immediately became suspicious: The average Apple iPod contains only about 20 songs downloaded from Apple’s music service, iTunes, according to a study by Forrester Research. That’s bad news for record companies. Apparently, poor Forrester combed through “more than 2,700 US iTunes debit and credit card transactions” to ...

605555_iTunes5.png
605555_iTunes5.png

I came across this story on NPR, and immediately became suspicious:

The average Apple iPod contains only about 20 songs downloaded from Apple's music service, iTunes, according to a study by Forrester Research. That's bad news for record companies.

Apparently, poor Forrester combed through "more than 2,700 US iTunes debit and credit card transactions" to get this finding.

I came across this story on NPR, and immediately became suspicious:

The average Apple iPod contains only about 20 songs downloaded from Apple’s music service, iTunes, according to a study by Forrester Research. That’s bad news for record companies.

Apparently, poor Forrester combed through “more than 2,700 US iTunes debit and credit card transactions” to get this finding.

So I emailed Travis, the art director of FP and our resident digital culture expert, asking him what he thought. He quickly wrote back:

Wikipedia says about 67,000,000 iPods have been sold and that iTunes has sold about 1.5 billion songs.

That works out to roughly 22 songs per iPod.

Wow, I should get a job at Forrester Research.

To be fair, there are other interesting findings in the report, but I am greatly skeptical that iTunes is on the verge of being unprofitable, as the report claims. The marginal cost of adding new songs and videos is near-zero, and the iTunes store now boasts a database of over three-and-a-half million songs.

As for record companies, they’ve been geared so long toward churning out big hits that they haven’t yet adjusted to a fragmented world where “mass culture” barely exists any more. The future is all about selling less of more. The sooner record companies figure that out, the better off they’ll be.

UPDATE:  More skepticism from Wired’s Pete Mortensen.

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