Apple Computer revamped its online media store, iTunes, last week, adding over 75 movies from four major Hollywood studios. However, a recent study indicates that the large following of iPod users, only a fraction obtain media from iTunes.
Studies conducted by European market research firm, Jupiter Research, shows that despite iTunes being the dominant online media store, the average number of tracks downloaded from the service is only 20 per iPod - pale in comparison the thousands of tracks a single iPod can handle. This ratio has declined from the high of 27 tracks per owner in 2004, the firm stated.
The majority (83 percent) of European iPod owners do not regularly buy digital music, Jupiter analyst Mark Mulligan said in his report. Just 17 percent of European iPod owners purchase digital music on an at least monthly basis.
Of the users who do purchase music, only 10 percent of those users buy full albums, highlighting the importance of Apple's single-track model. The find could also be signs of a shift away from the carefully constructed album model that labels have built over the last three decades.
The potential evolution of the a la carte down-load paradigm to a predominately singles paradigm, coupled with the rise of single event models in the mobile space (e.g. ring tones, over-the-air downloads), Mulligan continues, makes a strong business case for record labels to revisit the EP model in the digital domain.
The majority of users are relying on free, legal download services, the study finds, with fee services outweighing iTunes by more than one-and-one-half-to-one. Illegal file sharing of music is more than twice as high.