Forrester’s Bernoff: ‘iTunes sales are NOT plummeting! Press credibility, on the other hand…’

Forrester Research’s Josh Bernoff sets the record straight. Why it took until today is anybody’s guess, but for those AAPL buyers who were looking for a nice artificial buying opportunity, Christmas came early this year.

Bernoff explains, “We put out a simple little report about iPods and iTunes based on credit card transactions and publicly stated Apple data. And for those who aren’t Forrester clients, I blogged the highlighs. In case you are wondering, we ran the report by Apple, and they declined to comment. Since then: The New York Times ran a little fairly balanced pieced on the research. This got us on the media’s radar screen. Then…”

Bernoff details the hysterical media headlines and writes, “Now for the record, iTunes sales are not collapsing. Our credit card transaction data shows a real drop between the January post-holiday peak and the rest of the year, but with the number of transactions we counted it’s simply not possible to draw this conclusion… as we pointed out in the report.

Bernoff writes, “Apple’s stock actually did plummet — 3%. I started getting calls from hedge fund managers. Apple’s spokesman called and, although they refuse to go on the record with any facts, they’re clearly upset. And I also heard from the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, Financial Times, Toronto Globe and Mail,, etc. At this point I was trying to get people off the ‘65% drop’ idea and onto some of the more interesting ideas in the report, with mixed success.”

Bernoff writes, “iTunes sales are leveling off, the Journal did an article about it last Friday with data from Soundscan. Apple is not in trouble — it makes its money mostly from iPods, and iTunes is just a way to make that experience better. It’s the music industry that has to worry, since the $1 billion a year or so from iTunes, globally, doesn’t nearly make up for even the drop in CD sales in the US, which are now down $2.5 billion from where they were.”

MacDailyNews Take: That what happens when people aren’t forced to buy 8 filler songs and can go buy the album’s two good songs individually. Too bad, music labels, your free ride on the back of forced crap music bundling is over. (Years of $15.99 for a decent song or two was criminal.) Make good music, make good money. Make better music, make better money.

Bernoff continues, “Finally, a word for Apple. Apple is extremely stingy with information about their business and public comment. Their unwillingness to comment on the record or off about anything they’re working on or any industry results beyond the basic statistics fuels speculation, pro and con, from their supporters and detractors. In the research business we like facts — and every other technology company is more open with them. So maybe it’s time for Apple to share a bit more. When the real bad news hits — and it’s inevitable, no company gets everything right — that openness would pay off.”

Full article here.
Bernoff, in part at least, is responsible for generating the “real bad news” and he has the gonads to blame Apple? Whatever, Josh. Other analysts seem to do a good job of covering Apple with the information provided and what they can gather without causing hysterics, PiperJaffray’s Gene Munster, for one example. You know, the guy who’s out there cleaning up your mess. And we don’t care what you like or want; obviously, neither does Apple. Thanks for the buying opportunity, though.

As for the various outlets that blew the whole thing up into Glaser-like proportions, that’s unfortunately what some in the media do. Many in the media can’t even get basic product features (that are clearly listed on websites like Apple’s) correct. “Press credibility” plummeted long ago. Bernoff should have known what his original blog post would cause; no crystal ball, just common sense required.

Related articles:
Jim Cramer on Apple iTunes Store and ‘that stupid Forrester survey’ – December 13, 2006
Piper Jaffray: Apple iTunes Store sales show strong year-over-year growth – December 13, 2006
Apple on Forrester report: ‘the conclusion that iTunes sales are slowing is simply incorrect’ – December 12, 2006
Blackfriars’ does the math: Apple iTunes sales are not ‘collapsing’ – December 12, 2006
iTunes interest climbs as one analyst claims falling sales – December 12, 2006
Akamai Net Usage Index for Digital Music measures real-time global consumption of online music – December 11, 2006
WSJ mistake: ‘digital-music sales have stalled for the first time since Apple launched iTunes Store’ – December 06, 2006
Digital downloads drive world music sales in first half of 2006 – October 13, 2006
Study reports the obvious: most music on iPods not from iTunes Store – September 17, 2006
Apple iTunes Gift Cards help boost growth of digital music in U.S. – April 21, 2006


  1. Apple will win because of OSX. The world needs a stable, reliable, robust, easy, safe and fun operating system. Apple Computer has given us that: OSX. The world will be running towards Apple. Just wait.

    iTunes talk is meaningless in the long run.

  2. Unfortunately, Bernoff is typical of analysts these days.

    They perform weak research, make broad statements from incomplete data, then blame others “misinterpret”..

    They are part of the media industry. You know, the people that make money on headlines, and not on the substance. Bernoff should know better than to cast out an imperfect survey, and expect the rest of the media to get it right.

    For the past sseveral years I have done my own research (it ain’t hard, its time consuming), release my estimates 90 days before earnings and have been closer to actual results than the “pros”.

  3. bernoff is full of sh*t – he knew the uproar this would create and the free publicity it got him He was clever enough to cover his ass by hiding a caveat in there – “oh by the way apple is not in trouble even though iTunes sales is plummeting” which he now puts in bold – “as we pointed out in the report”
    what a crock!
    as in “provided” you tell the truth – fact or no fact.

  4. The problem really isn’t Bernoff, as vacuous as the Forrester piece was.

    The real problem is Andrew Orlowski at the Register who is a card-carrying Apple-hater, iPod basher. Journalists being who they are, they read Orlowski’s pathetic hit piece on the Register and then assumed that’s what Bernoff wrote.

    “News” this day is the act of rephrasing what you read on a “news” website like the Register, with the assumption that the “journalist” isn’t above inventing a story out of thin air simply because of his own boiling hatred for certain people, companies, or things.

    The problem is Orlowski, who is the serial arsonist of journalism (especially when it comes to Apple stories).

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