Oct 04 – DMS peak in US?

Whichever way you look at it the latest survey of online music behaviour from NPD Group makes for worrying reading. The headline stats are that whilst legal downloading is down in the US, unlicensed file sharing is back up again. The number of consumers paying for downloads fell to nearly one million users per month in May, June and July from a peak of 1.3 million in April 2004. Meanwhile the number of US households with a member using p2p services to download music for free has risen from 5.1 million in August 2003 to 6.4 million in July 2004. It’s clear that recent price cutting promotions may have caused something of a spike in the legal market and the launch of new services from the likes of Microsoft and Virgin should help to bolster the market. But it’s not going to be plain sailing, even for the big players. NPD reported US market shares for Napster at 11% and Musicmatch, RealNetworks and Wal-Mart each claiming 6%, while Apple’s iTunes holds firm as the leading retailer with a 70% share of the market. Apple will hardly be too fussed at the drop in sales growth with iPod sales passing the two million mark this last quarter, a 500% year on year rise. Meanwhile the portable subscription model will get a further boost soon as RealNetworks’ chief strategy officer Richard Wolpert has announced that Rhapsody will be offering the facility within months.

See also: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/music/brief_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000664586

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