Feeds

Apple touts iTunes' UK 80% market share

Under pressure

Boost IT visibility and business value

Case in point: why buy the Rolling Stones' critically acclaimed new album, A Bigger Bang, from iTunes when you can get it much more cheaply at Virgin Digital, for example. Both stores charge £0.79 a song, but Virgin is selling the whole album for £5.89 to ITMS' £7.99 - a 26 per cent discount.

Differentiation, differentiation, differentiation

No wonder Apple stresses ITMS' exclusive content, and it's clear that such material is going to play an increasingly important role in differentiating online music services. Like the bricks'n'mortar stores of today, they are going to sell essentially the same catalogues, with differentiation becoming a matter of brand, exclusives and pricing.

Just as, say, 15 years ago, regular music buyers would inherently favour Virgin, HMV or Our Price - then the major UK music chains because of the perceived feel of the stores rather than more practical criteria like stock levels and pricing, so today they will associate with one of the music stores. But that leaves a large potential audience of more casual buyers who don't identify with a specific brand.

We haven't tried HMV's download software yet, but as far as Napster and Virgin Digital go, Apple's iTunes has the clear lead. It is, we think, simply easier to navigate and buy from and, for this user at least, has the advantage of reproducing album art much, much better than its rivals do. It's no surprise that many iTunes features have migrated to other such apps - Virgin Digital's software owes plenty to iTunes' developers. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery...

Apple also has another, more subtle benefit: its own format. Yes, that's clearly an advantage because of the iPod tie-in, but it also differentiates its songs as the desktop level. ITMS-acquired or iTunes-ripped songs have their own, distinctive icon. Tracks from HMV, Napster, Tesco, Virgin, Woolworths, Wippit and almost all the other song services available in the UK all yield generic Windows Media Player icons.

Apple may have such advantages, but its statement today suggests it's not relying on them - or the iPod - to maintain the lead it enjoys over its rivals. Indeed, with ITMS projected to contribute a small but significant figure to Apple's bottom line next year, it has to look beyond the portable player. The competition is, at last, heating up and Apple clearly feels rising temperature. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.