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iTunes is Changing Everything
Article by David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy - May 2003

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Internet Music Promotion 101

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is talking about the new
iTunes Music Store just opened by Steve Jobs and Apple Computing. I don't think Apple has gotten this much good press since... well, maybe even before anyone heard of the Internet.

I can almost feel the collective sigh of relief coming from even the most remote corners of the online music industry. The euphoric feeling is that maybe, just maybe, a means has been found to sell and deliver digital music to consumers that *both* consumers and the recording industry can live with.

So, what's the big deal? The big deal is this: iTunes has been a HUGE financial success, much more so than anyone anticipated. In just its first week of operation over one million songs were purchased and downloaded at a cost of 99 cents each. That's a million buckaroos in a week. For a project designed just to 'test the water', iTunes is making big waves.

Here's the amazing part: iTunes is currently only available to Mac users, and *only* those Mac users running the most current version of the operating system. That makes up less than 1% of the PC market! So just 1% of all PC users generated enough interest to make a million bucks.

Now, extrapolate that out. If iTunes was available to the other 99% of computer users, Apple could *theoretically* bring in 100 million a week. That's over 5.2 billion in cash a year. Cha-ching! OK, that's quite an unscientific exaggeration, but the point is, people are using the service by the boatloads and there's definitely money to be made. The record industry is taking notice.

On paper, the iTunes service doesn't look like something that should be anywhere near this popular. iTunes has a limited catalog of only 200,000 tunes, and there are no streaming options. It's strictly a download service.

So why has iTunes done so well? Maybe it's just plain easier than stealing. You can get a high quality download of your favorite songs fast. And the files you download are much smaller than your usual MP3's, but still sound amazingly good. A smaller file size means you can get a LOT more music on your iPod.

In addition to ease of use and it's utter simplicity, iTunes doesn't set a whole lot of limitations on what you can do with the music you've purchased. You can play your music on up to three computers, enjoy unlimited synching with your iPods, burn unlimited CDs of individual songs, and burn unchanged playlists up to 10 times each.

Perhaps best of all, there's NO monthly subscription fee, and believe it or not, all of this has all been OK'd with the RIAA. So you can enjoy your digital music downloads without fear of legal action.

OK, so Mac fans are happy. What about the rest of us? We're in luck! Apple hopes to extend the iTunes service to Windows-based machines by the end of the year. Until then, I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of imitations pop up.






David Nevue is the founder of The Music Biz Academy. He is also a professional pianist, recording artist, full-time Internet musician, and author of the book, "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet."

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