Amazon is growing its share of the digital music download market but not at the expense of ITunes. According to NPD Group research data, ITunes has 66% of that market and Amazon has 13%. Growth may be coming instead from album sales, which dropped by 12% for 2010, according to WSJ.com. CD sales dropped by 20%, but digital album sales grew 13%.
A few artists have decided to forego selling individual songs on ITunes and insist on album sales instead. Billboard says this formula just might be working out for Kid Rock. He’s not selling his new album “Born Free” or the songs on it on ITunes. Billboard thinks he may have sold more, by a lot, by sticking to his guns, generating an estimated $3.3 million more by only selling his album in its entirety.
AC/DC and Garth Brooks are two other artists/groups that have refused to play the single song download sales game with iTunes, opting instead to only sell albums. No word on how it is working out for them.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to try to put a dent in ITunes share of market by offering deep discounts of albums, something that may actually endear them to artists and labels by placing emphasis on album rather than song sales. They are known to absorb the price difference between the sale price and wholesale price, so it doesn’t harm actual revenues and it helps unit sales. It’s a strategy that worked for Kid Rock…
Slacker has has announced that its ad supported free Basic Radio service is now available in Canada. This is a move that puts Slacker ahead of Pandora in offering its free streaming radio service north of the border.
A year ago, Slacker began offering free interactive channels and streaming to Canadians, but only for a 30 day trial after which listeners had to agree to pay $3.99 a month to continue.
Now listeners can freely listen to more than 100 expert-programmed genre stations or create and share customized music stations starting with either Slacker’s programmed stations or by artist’s name or song title. Interactive options include the “Fine Tune” feature which enables listeners to adjust the frequency of artists and songs and choose to hear more classic versus newer or popular versus fringe selections.
Competitively this is a nice move for Slacker. XM Canada, a streaming music extension offered by XM Canada and Sirius Canada which gave subscribers access to their favourite satellite radio stations online, was cancelled in November 2010 and replaced with an offering that forced subscribers to pay an additional fee. Pandora, the widely popular online radio platform in the US, has yet to offer access to listeners from Canada.