Report: Apple iPod owners buy more music

“Digital music sales in the UK have achieved 50 per cent of the singles market, and 4 per cent of the album market, according to the BPI, but music fans still prefer to buy new music on CD, a report claims,” Macworld UK reports. “The report claims that as few as 20 tracks held on most consumers iPods are purchased from iTunes. That’s actually fairly consistent with Apple’s news last week that its population of around 60 million iPod owners have downloaded 1.5 billion tracks so far – around 25 tracks per iPod.”

Statistics revealed in the survey include:
• 83 per cent of iPod owners do not buy digital music regularly
• 17 per cent of iPod owners buy and download music, usually singles, on a monthly basis
• 5 per cent of iPod music is acquired from online music stores.

Macworld UK reports, “Bad news? None really. The report also confirms that the majority of music fans who own an iPod are now actually more likely to buy music, particularly CDs. (Which they rip for their iPods and keep in all their uncompressed audio glory within their CD collections.) …While the report has been picked up by many online news websites as proof that iPod users ‘shun’ iTunes, the real facts seem to be that music fans who buy an iPod are switched-on to music by their ownership of the product to the extent that their appetite for new sounds climbs.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Study reports the obvious: most music on iPods not from iTunes Store – September 17, 2006
Real CEO Glaser calls Apple iPod owners thieves – May 11, 2006
Study shows iPod owners significantly less likely to steal music than the average person – January 13, 2006
Microsoft CEO Ballmer: ‘Apple iPod users are music thieves’ – October 04, 2004


  1. “Gotta love the Brits. Would an American make such an elegant choice of words?”

    perhaps but certainly would have spelled ‘appetite’ wrong or made some other grammatical error.

    More likely would have said something like “as long as they want newer stuff”

  2. Ultimately, I doubt Apple would be that concerned if no-one bought anything from the store, if they were selling the same amount of iPods and could show that iPod usage prompted people to listen to more music then they’d be delighted.

  3. According to this report

    In the UK, the patterns of music purchasing has changed very dramatically in the last couple of years.

    The graph shows that in July/ Sept 04, 6 million physical singles were sold and less than two million digital ones. Total sales of 8 million singles.

    By Apr / June 05, the digital and online sales were equal, at a little under 6 million each. Total sales of 12 million.

    In Apr / June 06, physical sales had only dropped to about 4 million, while digital sales had shot up to 13 million. Total sales of 17 million.

    So far from amounting to the 50% attributed to the BPI in this report, this other report, also attributed to the BPI puts on-line sales at more than triple those of physical sales during the last quarter.

    On-line sales have risen six-fold, but physical sales have only declined by less than half. That’s not a bad trade-off at all, particularly as there is more potential profit ( particularly for the labels ) with digital sales as there is no wastage or distribution costs to worry about.

    But the really good news for the industry ought to be that in under two years ago they were selling 8 million singles per quarter, but now the quarterly sales have been more than doubled, to 17 million.

    The bizarre thing about this situation is that in any other business, if a company were to trigger a revolution that doubled the market so quickly, it would be hailed as a hero, but the music industry appears to resent Apple selling so much additional music for them.

  4. …so it begs the question:

    just what is it that the labels are bitching about when it comes to download pricing?

    it would appear that only a small segment has a regular “appetite” for downloads (I am one and I gorge and they are all itunes downloads!), and the majority are ripping existing or new cds to their ipods.

    I can tell you, absent some extenuating circumstance, I would never walk in to a CD store or buy another CD ever again….but after 3+years of itunes and ipod, that is not the case with most folks

  5. Downloading music is still in its early stages and will continue to change and grow. The single is the obvious thing to fluorish on download services – 99cents vs $2-6 for the CD or casette single. When you add in the convenience factor, it is an easy choice. Also, if you have a choice to either spend $9.99+ on a full album or pick only the songs you like and save the $, why buy the entire album? I would predict that full album sales will always be a small % of total album sales for that reason.

    I think the earlier post about the price and bitrate really gets to one of the most important factors – paying about the same for an “album” on iTMS as for the CD (I shop at Newbury Comics in Boston that usually has new CDs on sale for $10-12 – the difference is obviously greater if you shop at somewhere like Sam Goody…if they’re still in business) when the sound quality is not as good and the use is restricted. Granted, with iTunes you can get around the DRM, but the sound will be slightly degraded in the process.

    I also believe there is still some attachment to the 30+ crowd, which has more disposable income, for the physical CD. Personally, I like to have them – even with high quality DRM alternatives (for example, and Beatport), I usually prefer the CD or vinyl. It will probably take a generation of people that are comfortable with everything on a hard drive to fully realize the potential of downloads.

  6. Comparing iPod sales to iTunes sales is not quite correct.

    You have to determine the number of iTunes users who don’t own an iPod. what is there purchasing rate?

    In my case I have hundredds of iTunes songs… maybe 60 videos but no iPod.

    Now an iTV might be in the picture but not an iPod. How many people out there have sans iPod purchasing habits?

  7. caddisfly: they’re bitching because they hate someone else controlling things, in this case, Steve Jobs. They’re still taking the money from those 1.5 billion downloads, aren’t they? They’re whining all the way to the bank.

    word=served iTunes has served them well.

  8. iTunes (should the ‘i’ be capitalised at the start of a sentence?) has widened my musical tastes no end, and I buy far more music today.

    Only became an iPod owner last Christmas though, when it played video — thus justifiable as a biz expense.

    Prior to that I was quite content to buid the library on my laptop HD.

  9. iTunes is a great service. But eMusic is still the way to go to expose yourself to new music on the cheap. They sell waaaay more songs that they are given credit for.

    And, (with the ability to recommend tracks/artists, a nice forum to discuss music and a “friends” list) the community of eMusic is surprisingly tight.

    eMusic all the way, baby!

  10. I’m sorry I won’t touch the iTunes Music Store for two reasons. The first being price and the second being bit rate. It’s just not worth it to pay (for what in my opinion is an inferior product) at the availabe price.

    In Australia it cost around twenty to thirty dolars for a cd and $AUS17.00 to whatever at Apple’s Music Store. It’s just a rip-off. I’m so peed off with this that I’ve voted with my wallet and I’m now using the Russian site

    Frankly I’m sick and tired of hearing about musicians screaming about being ripped off by such a site because I’m being ripped of by the record companies.

    So there it is, I used to buy cds but because this Australian consumer is sick and tired of being treated like a cash cow that can be milked to death by the record companies, I now don’t really care. I just want my music. And I want to choose the bit rate I want not what is forced on me by Apple at the obvious behest of the record companies.

    For the record I own a 3rd gen 20 gig ipod, a 60 gig ipod photo and my wife has a mini. So if anyone wants to pontificate about their pure virtues then go ahead. As for me, I’m going off to to buy some more music. And if the price goes up at this site when the new copyright laws come then I’ll gladly pay because I know it’ll still be cheaper than what I can get in ripoff Australia. If they put DRM into the music then I’ll reluctantly go down the torrent path. And are torrents all that different than swapping music with your friends? Think about it, because I sure did! And so have millions of other punters.

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