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-- A new era for iTunes? Perhaps music will not be as important to Apple since it will not be the critical driver of future hardware sales. Needham analyst Charles Wolf told BusinessWeek Apple's future is tied to the App store, not the music store. "There is no strategic importance to music anymore."
-- Fun numbers in the BusinessWeek.com article above: Pandora's iPhone app is downloaded 20,000 times a day; and Pandora's internal survey shows 45% of Pandora users buy more music while only 1% buys less music. The latter statistics present an important question, one that applies to free radio services as well as live event services such as iLike and Eventful: Do these services create incremental sales or merely shift sales around? Even though there are numerous effective ways to track local shows and buy tickets, and although millions of music fans use these services, it does not appear that people are going to concerts in any greater frequency than before those technologies arrived. The same goes for free streaming services. Are they resulting in incremental sales or are they replacing sales that would have occurred eventually? Even though free streaming services are exploding in popularity, download sales have stalled and sagged. Maybe download sales would be even worse without the likes of Pandora, but right now, based on sales figures and anecdotal evidence, the best answer appears to be that these services allow people to be more choosey with their money and put off all but the most necessary purchases. For an industry seeking stability and growth, that should be very troubling.
-- Spotify founder Daniel Ek told an audience in London that less than 9% of its one million-plus U.K. users have upgraded to the £10-per-month premium service.
-- The AP has a good overview of Ticketmaster's paperless tickets and its new online exchange. "Now with its new exchange system, Ticketmaster has come up with a way to let buyers resell a paperless ticket, while still cutting out ticket-resale leader StubHub and other brokers. That gives Ticketmaster a chance to capture more of the so-called secondary market, which generates greater fees and profits per ticket, although fans sometimes feel ripped off."
-- The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a post about Veoh's "big win" over Universal Music Group and a bullet-pointed summary of an analysis of the decision by Professor Eric Goldman at Santa Clara Law School. Wrote Fred von Lohmann in his summary: "In making these rulings, the court simply applied existing DMCA precedents; nothing here is new law. But by applying these precedents to an online video hosting service for the first time, the ruling goes a long way toward clarifying the rules that apply to those sites."
(Deep Links Blog)
Follow Billboard senior analyst Glenn Peoples on Twitter at twitter.com/billboardglenn.