Today, Apple (APPL) announced that its iTunes Store has sold 3 billion songs, the last 2 billion of which were sold in half the time it took to sell the first billion. That’s great news for Apple, but they’re still missing out.
Consider the numbers:
Of course, you can upload any music you’ve bought, “borrowed,” or stolen onto an iPod, and surely there are iTunes customers who use another device. In just 4 years, iTunes has become the #1 music retailer on the Web and #3 overall, next to Wal-Mart and Best Buy. But while iTunes may be the default online music store today, they’ve done precious little to innovate.
Meanwhile, rival EMusic, the Web’s #2 music retailer — which, unlike iTunes, is not ignoring the long tail — just launched a mobile store; a coup for independent music distribution. It’s not just indies; big-name artists are fighting back. Today, multi-platinum rapper Eminem announced he’s suing Apple because of iTunes’ shady deals and slim margins. And let’s not forget that EMI and other major labels have teamed up with Amazon to compete with Apple, or that the biggest record company in the world dropped iTunes last month.
They may have “5 million” songs available today, but soon you won’t even be able to buy any U2 songs to fill your red U2 iPod.