I may have been a little skeptical when it was first launched, but Apple has had a great first year with the iTunes Music Store (iTMS). No other music service has come close in sales. Since the launch in April, Apple has sold 25 million songs. AdAge picked Apple as Marketer of the Year. Time named iTMS Invention of the Year. Fortune called iTMS Product of the Year.
Wow. That’s quite a year. I think that iTMS is a great product, but I agree with the criticisms about Apple’s “closed system”: iTMS songs only work on iPod and songs from other stores don’t work on the iPod. I’m guessing that Apple is playing this smart, though. Despite being cool, iTMS is not a money maker; the iPod is. They’re going to hold on to their big market share as long as they can. Will they open up if market pressures force them to? Hard to say. They’ve been clinging on to single-digit percentages of the desktop market share for a long time… maybe they’ll be happy with a small slice of the pie as the pie grows.