During his MacWorld keynote, Steve Jobs took time to tell the Apple faithful about the success of iTunes.
Back in mid-December, we were rather dismissive when we heard that iTunes had sold 200m tracks, so when we heard Jobs saying that the figure had now reached 230m songs, it didn’t set our world alight.
What we did find interesting was the current rate at which tracks are being sold per day. From their combined online stores in the 15 countries they have running (covering 70% of global music market), they are currently selling at the rate of 1.25m per day.
Jobs was quick to point out that ‘at this rate’ the annualised sale of tracks would be 0.5 billion tracks.
While this tracks/day rate initially sounds enormous, it has to be put against the explosion in the sales of iPod over the last quarter of 2004.
In the run up to xmas a very impressive 4.5m iPods were sold (a 500% growth over the same quarter last year) and dropped in to people’s xmas stockings, bringing the total sold to 10m. Clearly these arrive empty and have to be filled with music, some of which may be already owned, but experience tells that the common action is for people to take this as an opportunity to buy more music.
The number of tracks downloaded will have been helped by the 1m prepaid card that Apple has sold since US Thanksgiving (25 Nov).
These combined factors may account for the big hike in tracks/day and could point towards this being a seasonal blip. Sustaining it will require a continued enthusiastic appetite for new music from the current owners or legions of new iPod owners continuing to arrive.