Applevine: Mac Sales Ahead of Projections? Subscription iTunes?

mac chartApple’s broken sales records in many of their recent quarters including the last but when forecasts were given for the current quarter, Apple was particularly conservative.  Citing a “product transition” widely believed to involve Macbook notebooks, the company forecast only a Q4 earnings result of $1 per share on sales of $7.8b.  Analysts were looking for $1.24 a share on sales of $8.3b.  Midway through the quarter, some analysts are now starting to set out projections that turn Apple’s conservatism upside down.

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Data Dump: Industry Statistics By the Numbers

numbersFrom market research firms and trade groups, there are so many projections, forecasts and numbers thrown to the airwaves that it can become really difficult to keep track. To ease the burden, we periodically consolidate the info to one report. We’ve done comparative stats that put numbers in a context , and we’ve industry specific data dumps. This latest editionof the occasional "Metue: By The Numbers" report is a buffet from across the media, entertainment and technology sector. There’s a little on publishing, a little on web usage, some gaming data, TV… something for all interests. Metue By the Numbers:

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Measuring Music: NPDs Top 5 US Retailers

music measureMarket research firm NPD Group is known for systematically tracking retail sales.  Among other things, they periodically report on gaming and music. This week, the company announced their compiled list of the top five U.S. music retailers for the first half of the year.

Assembled from six months of MusicWatch surveys, the list measures the best selling retail stores in the U.S. across the combined digital and brick & mortar landscape.   By methodology, twelve downloaded singles are counted as the equivalent to one CD. 

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Contemplating Disruption: Will Internet Evolution Hurt Big Media?

disruptionLooking back through centuries of history only a short list of communication technologies have fundamentally changed the way people and societies share information; things like written language, the printing press, the telegraph, the radio, and television.  Each, over years of evolution, utterly disrupted existing practices, pushing aside the antiquated and expanding the depth of possibilities.  Each, in developmental years, had critics predicting there’d be little long term value.    Each also has had champions who eagerly predicted the innovations would drastically reshape the world.

The Internet falls in to the same exclusive club but its functionality and contribution are still evolving.  It will take decades before the breadth of its impact and transformative power are fully understood.  Still, that won’t stop many  from predicting where things will go or how the Internet will continue to shape our world along the way.

Monday, Lehman Brothers took a stab at such a prediction.  Citing the disruptive power of the Internet, and its likelihood of changing business economics in the entertainment industry, they downgraded stock ratings on several companies.  The recent history of the music industry was cited as one partial justification.

The view seemed extreme.  This METUE review takes an in-depth closer look.

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Gaming and Music Convergence: Guitar Hero Aerosmith Debuts

gh-up.jpgAerosmith has sold more than 150 million albums (66m + in the U.S.) over four decades of Rock but they haven’t released a new one since 2001.  In today’s music world, that may not matter much when it comes time to receive royalty checks.   Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, the first single-band specific version of Activision’s bestselling video game, released Sunday.  If it does well, the band stands to draw a sizable income without having to hit the studio anew.

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Rhapsody Goes DRM-Free and Ala Carte

rhapsody changesIt takes money to make money sometimes.  Will $50 million be enough to steal some cash and market share from Apple’s dominant iTunes digital content store?  That is a question digital music service Rhapsody is hoping to answer.

Under a new strategy revealed Monday, Rhapsody will begin selling a la carte, single-song MP3 downloads without restriction.   All of the music will be offered at a variable bit rate of 256kb and it will have no digital rights management encryption (DRM).  Accordingly, it will be playable on any device, including iPods and iPhones. 

Music bought over an internet connection will be priced at 99cents a song, or $9.99 an album.  Music bought through a Verizon mobile phone via vCast will cost $1.99. The higher mobile premium will include one direct download and a second “master copy” sent to a home computer.

The changes break from what had long been Rhapsody’s approach to music sales. Click to Read More

Rumored Again, Guitar Hero: Beatles

Guitar Hero Beatles ImageThe rumor mill has a funny way of repeating itself and moving in circles until gossip eventually transitions toward fact.  Back in March, the airwaves were abuzz with the prospect that the Beatles digital debut might come by way of Activision’s Guitar Hero video game and not, as widely expected, iTunes music store.   That news didn’t pan out.  Activision revealed their G.H. pipeline and the special release title in the current lineup turned out to be a Metallica special edition.

Now, a few months later, the Financial Times is reporting on a similar Beatles story.  A rumor repeat based on new disclosures.  According to the new reports, a licensing deal worth several million dollars is in the works and could be weeks away. The parties are talking.

Fact? Fiction? Full Beatles Edition? Just a few songs licensed for the next Installment of the Game? Click to Read More

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