Reports earlier this week showed iTunes music downloads were on the downswing for the first time since the iTunes Store came online in 2003. At the time, we reported that analysts believed that music streaming services were the culprits. Now, Asymco’s Horace Dediu, who knows much about such things, has suggested another explanation that he believes makes more sense. People are simply listening less.
Dediu, via 9to5Mac:
Consumers have a fixed time budget, a more rigid constraint than their spending budget. Competition for a slice of a consumer’s time budget is far tougher than competition for a slice of a consumer’s wallet. So what’s amazing is that apps have successfully grabbed a share of this time budget.
One factor against Deidu’s theory: You can play music while engaging in other activities. Case in point, while writing for MacTrast, I often listen to music or podcasts in the background. It’s the way I work, a pattern set years ago while I was in IT.
Deidu does make a good point when he says:
This is the insidious march of a disruptor. It gains a foothold in a context where it has no competition and then relentlessly gets better, eventually displacing the far better suited alternatives. This is what I believe is happening with apps. They are asymmetric in their competition with established media and as a result they are easily ignored and brushed off as irrelevant competition. That is until the incumbent media sees a sudden drop in consumption.
For those of you who would like to dive into the numbers, Deidu’s post is available here.
What’s your opinion? Has the availability of streaming music led to you downloading less music from services like iTunes? Or, has the ubiquitous app led to less music, more games? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.