Thursday, 14 December 2006

iTunes tracks per iPod

Some “analyst” bunch styling themselves as “Forrester Research” has produced a report with doubtful statistics showing that sales of iTunes tracks has plummeted. To be fair, they have not used those terms themselves and have complained that the press focused on one aspect of their report.

But Forrester’s analysis is idiotic on another score: counting cumulative iTunes music sales vs. accumulative iPod sales. Dividing cumulative iTunes tracks by cumulative iPods sold makes it possible to make a statement like “Apple is only selling 20 iTunes tracks per iPod”. This statement is true but stupid.

As some have pointed out elsewhere, this calculation does not take into account dead or stolen iPods, and multi-iPod users. If a dead iPod is replaced, you use the same music. If the ratio is remaining more or less constant on Forrester's measure, then a more reasonable measure would show an increase in iTunes tracks per iTunes library.

This idiotic calculation is not unique to Forrester. If you do a google search on “iTunes per iPod” you get several pages of hits with variants on this idiotic “analysis”.

Let’s try another example.

Let’s count the cumulative number of copies of Windows preinstalled on PCs, and divide by the cumulative number of PCs ever sold. Microsoft’s market penetration has been increasing a tiny amount since 1995, when it spiked dramatically. In fact, the ratio has been almost static in recent years at about 0.9 per computer sold.

Clearly Microsoft is doomed.

And I told you this free of charge.

Next time you see someone offering a “research” report for $250, let me know.

I can write one just as good in half the time for only $100.

I could sell you a nice bridge as well if you ask nicely.