Ted Cohen quoted by USA Today, Bloomberg Businessweek on iTunes 10th Anniversary

This week marks 10 years since the launch of iTunes by Apple. Given the success of the iPod, iPhone, and other Apple mobile devices, iTunes has completed ten years since launching April 28th, 2003, selling billions of tracks while the movement of physical copies diminish. What’s next for iTunes as consumers move towards streaming? Ted Cohen, Managing Partner of TAG Strategic, imparts his industry expertise and perspective in the following two articles released this week by USA Today and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Excerpt from Bloomberg Businessweek, article by Andy Fixmer:

Today, iTunes’ share of the $2.9 billion U.S. digital music market has fallen to 63 percent, NPD says, its lowest since at least 2006. Many users, including those in the music business, complain that the site looks as outdated as the rare neighborhood record shop. “It’s a spreadsheet with music,” says Ben Easton, an artist relations manager for the New York City nightclub Joe’s Pub. The interface, with its signature top-10 lists and dropdowns, has grown stodgier with time and is a major handicap, says Ted Cohen, a recording industry consultant and the former digital chief for record label EMI Music. “There’s no emotion,” Cohen says. “There is nothing on iTunes’ store today that gives anyone the impetus to buy something.”

Ten years in, Apple’s music library has swelled from 200,000 songs to more than 26 million. Yet it no longer has a captive audience. Amazon.com (AMZN)’s cheaper digital music store has seized about 22 percent of U.S. music sales in the last several years. In a bigger threat to the song-purchase business model, Spotify, Rdio, and Rhapsody have signed up millions of subscribers for their music-streaming services, a feature iTunes doesn’t match. While 99¢ a song is cheap for listeners who regularly want new music, it can be much more expensive than the monthly fees at music-streaming services. “It’s no longer about individual tracks, it’s about access,” says Cohen. “The concept of buying music at 99¢ a song is becoming irrelevant.”

Excerpt from USA Today, article by Jefferson Graham:

When [what] the service analysts have called “iRadio” launches, downloads will no longer be as dominant, says Ted Cohen, a former executive with record label EMI who runs the Tag Strategic consulting firm. “People will say, `Why didn’t anyone think of this before?’ Apple wasn’t the first to have music downloads. But when iTunes Store launched, people acted like it hadn’t been done before, because Apple did it so well.”

Posted by Ted • Friday, April 26, 2013 .