Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Heart My iPod

I read online yesterday that record companies are putting pressure on Apple to raise the price of a music download on the iTunes Music Store, the website credited with partnering with the popular iPod product line to save the Apple empire.

In case you live under a rock, iTunes is the #1 legal music downloading software, which enables consumers to purchase a song at a price of 99 cents, with package deals resulting in many complete albums being available for as low as $9.99. Now I don't know about you, but before I purchased my iPod, I hadn't bought an actual compact disc of music in a few years. Quite honestly, I did not want to pay $22 for a disc with two songs that I liked an 10 that I could care less about. Therefore, I spent most of my time listening to the radio, surfing channels each time a commercial came on.

Before I drove out to Minnesota with a friend of mine this past summer, I decided it would be beneficial to purchase an iPod. Owning an iPod would ensure that we could drive across the country without having to surf radio stations when we left a metropolitan area. The feeling was amazing. Any time we ran out of stuff to talk about, the iPod was there, sending a song we have not heard yet over my new favorite radio frequency, 89.7 WGIL.

Over the summer, with all legality aside, my music collection grew. I was constantly borrowing CDs from my fellow staff members, building a near 20GB of music on my computer. I have also purchased many albums from iTunes Music Store, and considering that I pretty much have all of the "older" music I like, all of my future acquisitions will also be through this wonderful service.

To be honest, although I think it is preposterous that the record labels want to bump up the prices to pad their wallets (considering there is NO way the cost to produce an MP3 has gone up recently), it is quite possible that they can do it and get away with it. iPods are not cheap. They are the top selling MP3 player in the world. An analyst with Needham & Co. is predicting that the number of iPods sold is going to hit 13.3 million in 2005, and nearly double to 23.5 million in 2006. I can't go into any high schools to recruit students without seeing countless kids wondering the halls with little white cords hanging from their ears. I call this a phenomenon.

Aside from the cost of iPods being a huge investment, recent studies have shown that consumers spend almost half the price of the iPod on accessories. At the beginning of this year, there were 500 iPod accessories available. Now, that number has doubled to more than 1,000. I'll be honest, I purchased a car charger and iTrip radio transmitter, and plan on purchasing a stereo that the iPod can dock on when I get home later this month.

The fact that all of these accessories are being produced is a reflection of the commitment consumers have made to owning the product. If you own an iPod, have a carrying case, have purchased an iTrip transmitter and car charger for your car, and have installed a home stereo transmitter for your iPod, it is very difficult to switch to another MP3 player, which means when the complimentary iTunes music software starts charging more for MP3s, consumers will have to either cut their losses over a few cents a song, or suck it up and pay ... which they will.

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