NY Post: Sales At iMS Falling

The New York Post has published a report saying that sales at Appleis iTunes Music Store (iMS) have fallen. According to the Post, sales at the iMS are currently "averaging about 500,000 downloads a week." The paper is not citing sources inside Apple, but rather sources that are quoting what those attending last weekis independent label meeting at Apple said Apple said. That was an ugly sentence on our part, but perhaps that is fitting.

Last week, Apple met with independent record labels to pitch them on offering their catalogs on the iMS. As we reported last week, CD Baby, an online CD store for unsigned artists, put up notes from the meeting. The notes were later pulled once CD Baby was reminded by someone, presumably Apple, that the meeting and presentation were intended to be confidential. The notes were replaced by a substantially shorter note simply saying that CD Baby was very excited about the iMS (see our full coverage for more information).

In those original notes, CD Baby now said that there were "3.5 million songs sold so far. Selling about 500,000 songs a week now," in reference to performance at the iMS as of last week. The NY Post did not specifically cite CD Baby as its source; but, as there were some 150 record labels invited to the event, the information could have come from any one of them, and CD Babyis notes match what the Post is reporting. From the Post:

Now the company is averaging about 500,000 downloads a week, sources say Apple executives told independent music label execs at a recent meeting in California.

"You donit see them putting out press releases anymore" touting their numbers, one music industry executive said.

The paper also says that some record execs were expecting far higher sales:

While selling a half-million songs a week isnit bad, considering the service is only available to the 3 percent of computer users with Macintosh computers, some music execs had hoped the service would sell 1 million to 2 million tracks per week.

An Apple spokesperson did not return a call seeking comment.

When Apple announced the first million songs had sold in one week, the company included a quote from Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group, who said:

"Our internal measure of success was having the iTunes Music Store sell one million songs in the first month. To do this in one week is an over-the-top success. Apple definitely got it right with the iTunes Music Store."

Those comments are in sharp contrast to the unnamed record execs the Post is sourcing. At 500,000 songs per week, the company is still performing at twice the level Mr. Morris wanted. The Post is also saying that there is artist pressure for Apple to allow artists to offer albums for download, without offering singles for download.

You can find the full article at the NY Postis Web site.