Music industry quakes at iPod's decline

Apple and the music industry are all in a flutter about the slowing of iPod sales.

While the two were at odds for a long time over Steve Jobs telling them how much to sell music for, they are both a bit concerned that iPod sales are starting to slow taking digital sales of music with them.

Tomorrow’s Apple press conference has a logo of an acoustic guitar with a sound hole in the shape of the Apple logo and September is the traditional time to do something new with the iPod.

It needs to do something fast. Sales figures for the quarter to June showed 9 million sold – the lowest quarterly number since 2006.

From Apple’s point of view it has little to worry about, any loss in sales has been more than made up with by the iPhone and iPad. But the music industry had hoped that it would be Jobs’ Mob which would drive people to buy digital music.

What they have noticed is that digital music sales are only growing as fast as those of Apple’s devices, which at the moment is a downward trend.

It looks like the industry has leant on Jobs’ Mob far too much rather than pushing the MP3 technology into other fields. By hoping that Steve Jobs was the industry’s saviour they forgot that the iPod is only for those who want their music on the run. What they should have been doing is working out how to get high quality music onto other formats, perhaps even HiFi before the iPlod fad died out.

It is not Jobs’ fault, Apple has never been a charity, it is an outfit which now surfs on a wave of fads by flogging technology which is supposed to be dead in a year. Its next big thing will be TV shows and films, apps and ebook sales.

But now it is starting to leave the music industry high and dry and without a model it can make money from, the recording industry should be more worried about that rather than piracy. 

Tomorrow we will see the iPod’s swan song, but there will be a few music industry executives who should be looking up from their Tarot cards in a panic.