Apple’s iPod hits ‘critical mass’ with 40 percent of all-time unit sales coming in last 90 days

“White is the new black for MP3 players, thanks to Apple’s now mega-popular iPod and its distinctive pearly appearance. The digital music player, which went on sale late 2001, is taking over the hearts, minds and expendable income of America’s coveted 18-to-34-year-old demographic,” Dan Myers writes for The Bowling Green News.

“iPod’s popularity has never been higher, as evidenced by its recent sales. According to a press release, 4.5 million iPods sold through between October and December, 2004, while Apple has sold a little better than 10 million iPods since its release in October, 2001. To put the figures in context, over 40 percent of iPod sales came in just three months — after being on sale for about 39 months,” Myers writes.

“Dr. Chuck Coletta, an instructor of popular culture at the University, explained that the music player’s sudden jump in popularity is an example of a product reaching ‘critical mass. It’s sort of like a groundswell, a few key people get them and all of a sudden everyone wants one,’ Coletta said. ‘Like, six months ago, I don’t think I ever heard of [iPod], and now I have one. I think the big thing now is personal choice,’ he said. ‘This is kinda like the next generation of Walkman. Now you can do it [listen to your own music] but a hundred times more.’ Coletta said the design of the music player is distinctive. ‘You know it when you see it,’ he said. ‘Six months ago, I never thought earphones would be distinctive,’ he said. ‘You see people walking around and you can’t see the actual machine, but you know what they’re listening on,'” Myers writes.

Full article here.


  1. is not the last 90 days.

    But analysts have been saying that iPod sales didn’t really taper off much after the holidays, so the last SIXTY days have probably been good.

  2. I feel like a freak’n pioneer: I’ve had one for almost 4 years. Our immediate family has 3. Oh, wait…I am a pioneer, I have been using Apple products without interruption since 1979.


    (brought to you by the word history, as in I have a long history with Apple.)

  3. My favorite (incorrect) quote from the article:
    “[iPod Shuffles] offer users virtually no control over which songs are played; it downloads 1,000 random songs from its owner’s computer and plays them in a random order.”

    He’s off by a factor of 10, but the idea of a 1,000 song player with no screen strikes me as humorous.

  4. My biggest complaint with this article is that Dr. Chuck Coletta “a professor of popular culture” at a university, had never heard of an iPod until 6 months ago. By then, a good portion of the population had been inundated with the iPod. If he’s an expert in the field of pop culture, you’d think he’d maybe put in some due diligence and learn about what’s popular.

  5. ivory tower academics with no concept of reality or what’s happening in the outside world? surely it hasn’t come to this… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smirk” style=”border:0;” />

  6. It probably doesn’t hurt that some of Apple’s competition (e.g. Sony) has made the ridiculous decision to ADVERTISE FOR APPLE by using white earbuds on their own players. Sure, there may be a few people who don’t want to pay for an iPod, yet want to appear to have one, but for the most part, I don’t think people choose a player because of the white earbuds. It’s the other way around. Why didn’t Sony use a distinctive color for the PSP?

    I don’t particularly like wearing advertisements (or looking like all the other people on campus with bright white wires hanging from their ears), so I use dark non-Apple earbuds with my iPod.

  7. You know, I have read articles before in the paper that concerned the company that I used to work for. It was weird because every one was just a little bit off – kinda right but not really hitting the nail on the head.

    I think that was my first experience with knowing a subject intimately first and then reading it in the news papers. Up until then I pretty much accepted everything in the papers as more or less right and I think this is a common human tendency.

    Now with Apple and the iPod I am again in a situation where I actually know more about what is going on concerning a subject than most of the reporters writing about it, and I am again struck with how often they are wrong. Sometimes you get a guy that hits the nail on the head but too often they really are just talking out their a$$es or regurgitating someone else’s verbal flatulence.

    This second experience really drove it home that I should be taking EVERYTHING that is reported with a large grain of salt. If my two experiences are any indication, 90% of what is in the paper is wrong in some way. I guess being from Iowa I still have a bit of the naivete to me. Guess i shoulda been from Missouri – the show me state.

  8. Jack A:

    First you said this:

    “Up until then I pretty much accepted everything in the papers as more or less right and I think this is a common human tendency.”

    And then you said this:

    “If my two experiences are any indication, 90% of what is in the paper is wrong in some way.”

    Do you see that both statements are equally naive and uncritical? You provide only the vaguest information to slur an entire industry that works really hard (for the most part) to try to get it right. They are continually faced with people who dance around questions, who refuse to reveal non-critical information, and then turn around and say “the media have it wrong.” Well, no freaking wonder.

    To say that you know more about your industry than the media does *and* then to criticize them for not knowing as much as you do, O High And Mighty One, is disingenuous in the extreme.

    Maybe you should tell us all where you work so we can go over there and kick the toilet brush out of *your* hand. Then you can tell us all how how feel about *that*.

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