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Steve Jobs Dismisses Wal-Mart & Dell, Offers Message To Artists

Steve Jobs Dismisses Wal-Mart & Dell, Offers Message To Artists

by , 2:30 PM EST, December 16th, 2003

Steve Jobs gave an interview to USA Today concerning Apple's music strategy. According to the story resulting from that interview, Mr. Jobs dismissed Wal-Mart as a competitive threat, said that Apple had trounced Dell in digital music players, and perhaps most importantly, said that half of the downloads from the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) continue to be full albums. From the story:

"With over 25 million songs purchased and downloaded to date, the iTunes Music Store is hands-down the most successful online music store," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Music fans are buying and downloading almost 1.5 million songs per week from the iTunes Music Store, which is a rate of 75 million songs per year."

[...]

Rivals such as Dell have introduced more flexible portable players for other services. Jobs says Apple "trounced Dell this quarter" in music player sales. Researcher Jupiter predicts the $80 million digital music market will hit $1.6 billion in 2008. The field is quickly getting more crowded.

Jobs also said that half of iTunes sales are entire albums, not individual songs. Some music critics and artists feared that selling songs individually would destroy the album format.

You can find the full story at USA Today.

The Mac Observer Spin:

It's always interesting when Steve Jobs talks a little smack about Dell, and we very much agree with him about Wal-Mart. The retailing giant doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Hades in mounting a competitive threat to the iTMS, unless it wants to lose money hand over fist. There's no profit to be made in music downloads with the current structure as it is, and it's not likely that Wal-Mart is going to be changing that, even if it can gain traction in the market, which it won't.

Wal-Mart may (possibly) be the largest brick-and-mortat music seller in the world, but we question whether or not the same people happy to buy their music from Wal-Mart are the same folks buying online.

Microsoft, however, could be a different story in this market, but Wal-Mart will make even Dell's efforts at online music sales look successful.

Let's get on to what we think is the most important tidbit in this story, and that is the note about album sales. That information wasn't intended for tech watchers, music execs, or even Wall Street. It was intended for artists. Many artist have been making the loser's argument that music download services will mean the end of the album format. Many of those most content with the music industry status quo have resisted Apple and the other online music retailers singles option as a form of (silly and vain) protest.

Mr. Jobs message is that there need be no fear because album sales are alive and well at the iTMS. This was the case when the iTMS opened, and it's apparently still the case. That sort of reassurance is almost definitely a part of Apple's campaign to woo those who are still holding out.

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