Apple’s Reign Over the Music Industry
If any one company has changed the face of the music industry, it is without a doubt, Apple. To begin with, let’s look at three ways iTunes has reshuffled the retail business for music and video. While some call these changes good, and others call them bad, there can be no disputing that the music industry will never return to what it was before iTunes.
First of all, iTunes has introduced an era where consumers can say goodbye to albums, and hello to singles. Since CDs ameliorated the days of the 45 single, there was not a format for purchasing single songs. This created a windfall for the recording industry, as consumers were forced to purchase entire albums just to get their hands on a single song. Now, however, iTunes has given consumers the power to purchase just one song at a time.
Second, iTunes has given rise to portable music. Prior to the advent of iTunes, the primary medium for playing and listening to music was home stereo systems. Now, however, the iPod has made it possible to listen to music virtually anywhere. Moreover, most new technologies – from the Kindle to the smart phone – have mp3 playback capabilities.
Third, iTunes has all but killed brick and mortar retail. While this has been horrible news, of course, for old school record stores, it has been quite empowering to consumers. With iTunes it is now possible for anybody to purchase their favorite music without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.
iTunes is no small enterprise, as most people know. In fact, iTunes is home to the world’s largest catalog. It features more than 5 million songs, 350 television shows, and 500 movies. And all of these can be purchased one at a time, at quite an affordable price. From this catalog, quite a few purchases have been made. Total iTunes sales include 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows, and 2 million movies.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at the top 10 most downloaded songs (on March 29, 2010):
And of course, iTune’s 10 billionth download was Guess Things Happen That Way by Johnny Cash.