And yet, we wonder…

Online Media Daily carries a story today that’s pretty good news for Apple and its iTunes store.

comScore Networks Thursday reported that sales at Apple’s digital music store year-over-year have grown 84% during the first nine months of this year.

The Thursday report comes just days after a report from Forrester Research stating just the opposite — that iTunes sales had fallen 65% the first six months of the year.

Apple fired back with a statement denying that sales had slowed, and claiming that iTunes accounts for nearly 6% of all the music sold in the United States, making Apple the fourth-largest music-retailer. Piper Jaffray chimed in with its own research Tuesday, indicating that the number of songs sold per week on iTunes had grown 78% during the first nine months of 2006 compared to the year-earlier period.

Forrester has since backed off a bit (we all just misunderstood what they were saying), but there are a couple of points here. One, this kind of “story” hurts everybody’s credibility — everybody’s. I mean, Forrester is a great company, but they were off-the-mark here, and the media picked up the story and spread it around. Consumers with iTunes accounts must have been shaking their heads about it, because even anecdotally, they knew this simply wasn’t true. You’d have to be living under a friggin’ rock to believe that iTunes is doing anything other than exploding.

The second point is that all these new numbers reveal that the energy for buying tunes one-at-a-time (can you say “unbundled”) is very powerful and runs deep. Media 1.0 types may wish that the Forrester report was true, but in our heart-of-hearts, we had to know it wasn’t.

Comments

  1. The thing that concerns me is how often the Forrester numbers were repeated as if they were gospel, not only in the weblogs, but in the pages and websites of traditional media. It is irresponsible to trumpet numbers that seem so enormously out of whack (65 percent decline?).

    And as for unbundled music, as I was reading this I also purchased a single track from an artist I’d never heard of – Erin McKeown – after hearing it on Pandora. I may never buy another song by her, but I definitely wanted that song. Good for the consumer – good for the artist, I say.

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