Apple: Billions of Songs, Billions of Apps, Not Much Profit

Posted: 19/01/2012 in Marketing
Tags: ,

Apple is patting itself on the back for delivering 10 billion songs from its iTunes Store. And it frequently boastsabout the number of apps customers download from iTunes, as well–the tally is now past three billion.

But you won’t hear Apple boast about how much money it’s making from iTunes. Because there’s not much to boast about.

Even at today’s hyper volume, the digital store is still running at “a bit over break-even,” the company reminded analysts during its earnings call last month.

Apple (AAPL) has always maintained that iTunes wasn’t a real money maker. It’s supposed to help sell iPods, iPhones, and soon, iPads.

For years, industry observers figured that as the iTunes business scaled, this would change. An alternate theory, held by some of Apple’s media partners–the company was being overly modest about its success.

Apple doesn’t break out iTunes sales, but lumps them into a category called “Other music related products and services,” which generated net sales of $4 billion last year. That’s an increase of 21 percent over 2008, and the company attributed this growth to “increased net sales of third-party digital content and applications from the iTunes Store.”

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