The Register: ‘Apple misses iTunes sales target by 30%’

“Apple undershot its first-year iTunes Music Store download target by 30 million songs, the company admitted today, 12 months after the digital music business was launched. CEO Steve Jobs had forecast sales of 100 million songs, but in the end ITMS users acquired only 70 million – still sufficient to put the store at the top of the download service chart,” Tony Smith writes for The Register.

“Indeed, Apple today claimed a 70 per cent market share ‘for singles and albums,’ based on its own calculations. Customers are buying 2.7 million songs a week from the store – if they continue to do so, Apple will sell 140 million songs next year. Some 700,000 songs are now available for download. ‘iTunes has exceeded our wildest expectations during its first year,’ Jobs said in statement, the infamous ‘reality distortion field’ kicking in at this point, presumably,” Smith writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple has stupidly put itself in the position of taking a wildly successful 70 million songs sold in its first year and making it look like a failure due to Jobs’ artificial “100 million goal.” Note to Steve: don’t set goals in public if you aren’t damn sure that you can hit them. You’ll just give your foes ammunition otherwise; even if the ammo you’re providing are duds, they can still wound. For reference, Napster 2.0 sold five million songs in its first four months of operation or less than Apple currently sells every 12 days.


  1. The Register is little too fast to jump in to conclusions.
    We haven’t heard what Steve has to say.
    Question is if the Pepsi promotion is included or not.

  2. I mean if it is 70 000 000 plus 100 000 000 then it makes 170 000 000 and that is unbelievable. We have to remember that the Pepsi promo is still going on.

  3. I believe the original forecast (a year ago) was for 1 million songs. That was exceeded 70 times over. The 100 million song forecast came months later, long after the original goal had been obliterated.

  4. Finland is right re: the Pepsi promo. One-third of my iTMS purchases were from the Pepsi promo. Do they count? claims 200 Pepsi tunes (far more than me), do they count? The reality distortion field isn’t necessary here, though, because the iTMS has done far better than expected (see my first post).

  5. My memory may fail me here, but Jobs set a goal of 100 mio downloads per year when he introduced iTMS for Windows in November 03. So in my opinion you have to start the count in November and wait another 7 months.
    The first seven months, iTMS was not available for at least half its current users.

  6. Thank you, MDN, for actually criticizing Apple when they take a mis-step. You guys have been in danger of becoming the anti-Thurott, which is pretty much just as bad as the actual Thurott.

  7. Why do you guys keep apologizing and trying to cook the numbers:

    “We’re not going to make that number,” CEO Steve Jobs told The Wall Street Journal this week. “At the rate we’re at right now we’ll probably have sold 70-75 million songs by the end of April.”

    End of story. He opened his mouth and stuck in his foot. Everyone does it sometimes. Stop brownnosing a rich businessman…….they can’t feel it anyway.

  8. I recall from wacthing the Apple press release for ITMS for windows that Jobs said that the 100 M goal would INCLUDE the Pepsi Promotion. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like:

    Our goal is for 100 million downloads in one year. If we can’t do it with AOL and Windows, we will give them away.

    whereupon he introduces the planned Pepsi giveaway.

    I don’t know if he was being tounge and cheek about that figure, But I doo seem to recall him saying something like that. can anyone who has the time verify this? The QT stream might still be available on the Apple site. Sorry, I just don’t have the time.

  9. The ‘100 million’ goal was announced at the launch of iTunes for Windows (16/10/03) and Pepsi were a major part of that goal.

    However, I suspect that Steve didn’t think out at that point that a) the promotion wouldn’t be closed by today so b) he couldn’t report on the figures because c) it’s Pepsi’s promotion and it’s market sensitive.

    Still, the last 20 million downloads happened in 47 days – 360,000/day or 2.5 million a week. All 70 million happened at an average of over 190,000/day. The first 50 million took 318 days at a rate of over 157,000 a day so the adoption of iTMS has increased by over 25% in the last 47 days and has nearly doubled since 12/12/03 when the rate was over 109,000/day.

    I swear to God that if I ever meet anyone who claims to be a technology journalist, I will beat him/her to death with my cricket bat. Admittedly, I’ll have to go and buy a cricket bat first, but it’s a sacrifice worth making.

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