As increase in digital music sales slows, record labels look to new ways to make money

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every September, the Apple iPod is redesigned. Last year saw the release of the iPod Nano 5th generation, bringing a video camera and a large range of colours to the Nano for the first time. But as Apple again prepares to unveil a redesigned product, the company has released their quarterly sales figures—and revealed that they have sold only 9m iPods for the quarter to June—the lowest number of sales since 2006, leading industry anylists to ponder whether the world’s most successful music device is in decline.

Such a drop in sales is not a problem for Apple, since the iPhone 4 and the iPad are selling in high numbers. But the number of people buying digital music players are concerning the music industry. Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian, wrote that the decline in sales of MP3 players was a “problem” for record companies, saying that “digital music sales are only growing as fast as those of Apple’s devices – and as the stand-alone digital music player starts to die off, people may lose interest in buying songs from digital stores. The music industry had looked to the iPod to drive people to buy music in download form, whether from Apple’s iTunes music store, eMusic, Napster or from newer competitors such as Amazon.”

Mark Mulligan, a music and digital media analyst at Forrester Research, said in an interview that “at a time where we’re asking if digital is a replacement for the CD, as the CD was for vinyl, we should be starting to see a hockey-stick growth in download sales. Instead, we’re seeing a curve resembling that of a niche technology.” Alex Jacob, a spokesperson for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the worldwide music industry, agreed that there had been a fall in digital sales of music. “The digital download market is still growing,” they said. “But the percentage is less than a few years ago, though it’s now coming from a higher base.” Figures released earlier this year, Arthur wrote, “show that while CD sales fell by 12.7%, losing $1.6bn (£1bn)in value, digital downloads only grew by 9.2%, gaining less than $400m in value.”

Expectations that CDs would, in time, become extinct, replaced by digital downloads, have not come to light, Jacob confirmed. “Across the board, in terms of growth, digital isn’t making up for the fall in CD sales, though it is in certain countries, including the UK,” he said. Anylising the situation, Arthur suggested that “as iPod sales slow, digital music sales, which have been yoked to the device, are likely to slow too. The iPod has been the key driver: the IFPI’s figures show no appreciable digital download sales until 2004, the year Apple launched its iTunes music store internationally (it launched it in the US in April 2003). Since then, international digital music sales have climbed steadily, exactly in line with the total sales of iPods and iPhones.”

Nick Farrell, a TechEYE journalist, stated that the reason for the decline in music sales could be attributed to record companies’ continued reliance on Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, saying that they had considered him the “industry’s saviour”, and by having this mindset had forgotten “that the iPod is only for those who want their music on the run. What they should have been doing is working out how to get high quality music onto other formats, perhaps even HiFi before the iPlod fad died out.”

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When Jobs negotiated a deal with record labels to ensure every track was sold for 99 cents, they considered this unimportant—the iPod was not a major source of revenue for the company. However, near the end of 2004, there was a boom in sales of the iPod, and the iTunes store suddenly began raking in more and more money. The record companies were irritated, now wanting to charge different amounts for old and new songs, and popular and less popular songs. “But there was no alternative outlet with which to threaten Apple, which gained an effective monopoly over the digital music player market, achieving a share of more than 70%” wrote Arthur. Some did attempt to challenge the iTunes store, but still none have succeeded. “Apple is now the largest single retailer of music in the US by volume, with a 25% share.”

The iTunes store now sells television shows and films, and the company has recently launced iBooks, a new e-book store. The App Store is hugely successful, with Apple earning $410m in two years soley from Apps, sales of which they get 30%. In two years, 5bn apps have been downloaded—while in seven years, 10bn songs have been purchased. Mulligan thinks that there is a reason for this—the quality of apps simply does not match up to a piece of music. “You can download a song from iTunes to your iPhone or iPad, but at the moment music in that form doesn’t play to the strengths of the device. Just playing a track isn’t enough.”

Adam Liversage, a spokesperson of the British Phonographic Industry, which represents the major UK record labels, notes that the rise of streaming services such as Spotify may be a culprit in the fall in music sales. Revenues from such companies added up to $800m in 2009. Arthur feels that “again, it doesn’t make up for the fall in CD sales, but increasingly it looks like nothing ever will; that the record business’s richest years are behind it. Yet there are still rays of hope. If Apple – and every other mobile phone maker – are moving to an app-based economy, where you pay to download games or timetables, why shouldn’t recording artists do the same?”

Well, apparently they are. British singer Peter Gabriel has released a ‘Full Moon Club’ app, which is updated every month with a new song. Arthur also notes that “the Canadian rock band Rush has an app, and the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor – who has been critical of the music industry for bureaucracy and inertia – released the band’s first app in April 2009.” It is thought that such a system will be an effective method to reduce online piracy—”apps tend to be tied to a particular handset or buyer, making them more difficult to pirate than a CD”, he says—and in the music industry, piracy is a very big problem. In 2008, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated that 95% of downloads were illegitimate. If musicians can increase sales and decrease piracy, Robert says, it can only be a good thing.

“It’s early days for apps in the music business, but we are seeing labels and artists experimenting with it,” Jacob said. “You could see that apps could have a premium offering, or behind-the-scenes footage, or special offers on tickets. But I think it’s a bit premature to predict the death of the album.” Robert concluded by saying that it could be “premature to predict the death of the iPod just yet too – but it’s unlikely that even Steve Jobs will be able to produce anything that will revive it. And that means that little more than five years after the music industry thought it had found a saviour in the little device, it is having to look around again for a new stepping stone to growth – if, that is, one exists.”

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progressive Conservative candidate Dan McCreary, Brant

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dan McCreary is running for the Progressive Conservative in the Ontario provincial election, in the Brant riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Moscow celebrates Victory Day with military parade

Monday, May 11, 2009

On May 9, Moscow heralded its celebrations of Victory Day with one of the largest military parades seen since the fall of the Soviet Union through the Red Square and the streets of Moscow. Signifying the defeat over Nazi Germany in 1945 in World War 2, Victory Day continues to be one of the most poignant and emotional celebrations and national holidays in Russia. Estimates of more than 27 million lost lives during the war continues to leave a vein of sadness in Russia.

Victory day began early in Moscow with inner city streets being closed from 6am and the major entrance of Tverskaya Ulitsa completely locked down with all access to non-military blocked until the end of the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the upper parts of Tverskaya to see the exit of the military as well as the air force fly-over on their entrance to Red Square. In total more than 9,000 troops, 69 planes and a huge collection of armored vehicles, tanks, and massive anti-aircraft missile defense systems ensured that Moscovites and the rest of Russia will remember Victory Day 2009.

In scenes reminiscent of the end of the war military bands played around the city until all hours of the night. At Leningradsky station departing veterans and widows danced and celebrated with younger generations whilst loudly singing the national anthem. As trains departed, staff handed out flowers in recognition of the contributions made and loud cheers were heard across the many platforms. In a touching event it seemed to bond the generations of yesterday and today.

Preparations for the military parade began months ago with regular rehearsals in Alabino including the erection of a mock Red Square and Kremlin to ensure authenticity. Final dress rehearsals took place in Moscow on May 7 including a full practice of the air show. On display for the first time was the S-400 air defense system which is capable of intercepting airborne targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers (249 mi).

Following the official parades and ceremonies, Red Square and the the inner city was opened to the public, albeit under extreme security and an ever watching eye from Interior Ministry troops. During the afternoon there was an estimated crowed of over 100,000 which entered Red Square to admire the parade ground and decorations, including the official stand for the dignitaries.

Closing the festivities was a series of fireworks in fourteen different locations throughout Moscow including the grand display over the Kremlin and Red Square.

Cat in Rhode Island, USA nursing home ‘senses death’

Thursday, July 26, 2007

At a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island a cat is reported to be able to sense when elderly individuals are about to die.

The cat, known as ‘Oscar‘ is reported to have sensed the deaths of at least 25 elderly people. According to nursing home employees, Oscar has been living at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for two years and seems to sense the deaths at least two to four hours before they happen, and he is rarely wrong.

“It’s not that the cat is consistently there first. But the cat always does manage to make an appearance, and it always seems to be in the last two hours,” said professor of community health at the home, Dr. Joan Teno.

Oscar would go from room to room on a daily basis to watch and smell the patients, eventually curling up next to one that dies within a few hours, but since most of the patients he visits are too ill they do not notice his presence.

One veterinarian and expert on cats says that cats and dogs sense things that humans are not able to sense.

“It’s such a cat thing to do. Those things are hard to study. I think probably dogs and cats can sense things we can’t,” said University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, chief of veterinarian medicine at the college, Thomas Graves who also added that he does not believe it has anything to do with being a ‘psychic cat’ saying “there’s probably a biochemical explanation.”

Natural Gas Heating And Cooling With Propane In Torrington Ct

byAlma Abell

When it comes to heating you home, cooking or even keeping your groceries cold, natural propane gas is one of the most reliable options available. Any chef worth their salt knows that electric stoves and ovens just don’t heat as evenly as natural gas, making gas stoves preferable, and your family’s meals taste better. Propane appliances are, in general, more durable, and reliable, than electric appliances. Because natural gas appliances don’t need power to operate, you can rest assured your groceries will not go bad during a power outage, and you will be able to prepare a meal for your family. Natural gas is just a more reliable way to provide the things your family needs, and usually at a lower and more constant price.

Every year the price of kilowatt per hour of electricity rises, making electric appliances more and more expensive to run, making it harder to afford the regular use of electric stoves and furnaces. Newer appliances are being released that cost less to operate, but with the rise of the cost of electric bills, the difference is negligible. You can buy an appliance that runs on less power than your older model, but it will still cost the same to operate it. The price of Propane Torrington CT stays at a reasonable price, only raising in gradual steps. Those gradual steps up in price are only small amounts, so even if the price does rise, it will still stay well within a reasonable price range.

If you Visit Website for propane dealers in your area, you will probably notice that prices for propane have only risen when the market demands it, instead of several raises in price per year, and then a fuel surcharge on top of the additional charge. Propane is a natural, renewable resource, which can be produced at a low cost. Not only is propane priced reasonably, and produced safely, it can be delivered to your home or office on a set schedule or other basis. You can use propane fueled appliances safely in almost any environment, making it perhaps the ideal fuel for your home or office.

Swiss reject single health insurance

Monday, March 12, 2007

24 of 26 Swiss Cantons rejected the proposal for a single health insurance system, in which premiums would be based on income and wealth. The vote on Sunday was the latest in a series of attempts to cut rising costs and ease the financial burden on citizens.

Around 71% of voters rejected the reform. Turnout was at about 46%, slightly above the Swiss average.

As expected, voters in the main German-speaking part of the country turned down the planned reform, which was supported by the centre-left but opposed by the centre-right as well as the business community, parliament and the government.

Opposition in the French and Italian speaking regions was less pronounced. The cantons Jura and Neuchâtel in the French speaking regions voted in favor of the proposed reforms.

Health insurance premiums are higher in southern and western Swiss cantons than in German-speaking areas.

The Swiss Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin said an important part of the Swiss Population appeared to be opposed to “a revolution” in health insurance but he said that he wanted current reforms currently under discussion in the Swiss Parliament to go ahead. He called on all sides, especially health insurers and the cantonal authorities, to make efforts to reduce spending on health insurance and aim for a greater cost efficiency. Currently Switzerland has 87 private insurers providing mandatory basic health care coverage for Swiss residents under a 1996 law. But costs have sky-rocketed. Over 100,000 people are not covered by health insurance due to non payment.

To win the battle of the cost of health care, everyone must place his or her private interests behind the interests of the general public. -Pascal Couchepin at a news conference

Opponents to the initiative argued that a single insurance system would lead to complacency and create a two-tier system, in which the wealthy would be the only ones available to afford to have additional private insurance coverage.

Supporters of the initiative said a single health insurer would increase the system’s efficiency and allow for annual savings of at least 300 million Swiss Francs (about $245 million) in administrative costs. Currently, the funding system is unbalanced, since many clients on low incomes use state subsidies to pay their premiums, according to the Green Party and the Social Democrats.

The initiative to unite all the insurance companies and introduce premiums based on wealth and income was the most recent in a series of attempts over the past ten years to reduce the public spending on health care. A proposal, similar to this recent proposal, to modify the funding system of the health insurance companies was rejected by 73% of voters in 2003.

Switzerland has the most expensive health system in Europe. Switzerland’s expenditure on health care was 11.6% in 2005, in front of Germany and France but behind the United States.

Learn more about Swiss Federal Council and Voting in Switzerland on Wikipedia.

Dida and Milan face UEFA charges over Celtic fan incident

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has investigated Milan and their goalkeeper Dida over the incident with the Celtic fan that led to his substitution against Celtic. A fan ran on to the field immediately after Celtic striker Scott McDonald scored the eventual winning goal and appeared to have slightly touched Dida. Dida ran after the fan for a few steps before falling to the ground. UEFA have already investigated Celtic for lack of security for the same incident.

The charges were based on Article 5 Paragraph 1 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations, which states that “member associations, clubs, as well as their players, officials and members, shall conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship”.

The case were heard on October 11 by UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body. The outcome of these cases were as follows: Celtic FC were fined £25000, 50% of which is kept in a reserve tank and if Celtic have any further problems in two years UEFA will keep it, but if they don’t they will get it back. A.C Milan goalkeeper Nelson de Jesus Silva “Dida” was banned for two games but is appealing. If found guilty he could find himself with a four-game champions league ban.

Q and A with New Zealand Prime Minister hopeful

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This article is part of the series

New Zealand General Election
Other election coverage
  • Q and A with New Zealand Prime Minister hopeful
Background

John Key is the leader of the New Zealand National Party and with the New Zealand General Election this year, Wikinews’ Gabriel Pollard spoke to John Key via email.

Important Considerations For Your Child’s Summer Camp Experience

byAlma Abell

It’s never too early to find the right summer camp for your children. Even when spring break is on the horizon, you can begin to gather information, so you’re ready when summer comes around. While many summer schools can be an excellent experience for children of all ages, there are some things you should think about when deciding which summer camp for kids in New Jersey is the best possible fit.

Summer Schedule

Are you planning to have a family vacation over the summer? Are there other weeks in which you want your children at home rather than at camp? You’ll want to decide on these things before choosing a camp. As you look up potential summer camps, determine if they fit your schedule. Make sure to mark important dates, like vacations or visits with the grandparents, so you don’t inadvertently sign up for a camp that cuts into other important time.

Consider Budget

Summer camps come at all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can find a camp for next to nothing or you can spend a lot of money before you realize it. Having a budget in mind first is the best way to handle the situation. If your child is interested in a camp that is fairly expensive, you can always pay for it for a week or two and line up less expensive camps for other weeks to keep within the budget you have made.

Required Coverage

Some day camps are going to have strange hours, which may not work with your schedule. For instance, if you get out of work at five but the camp ends at three, you’ll need to find alternate transportation to get the kids home each day. The same may apply depending on the time you set off for work in the morning. Look for something that fits your needs or has some flexibility that you can take advantage.

Special Needs

If your children have special needs, you want to be sure the camp was had other campers with similar issues and how they were accommodated. This applies to everything from a child with a learning disability to those who have physical disabilities, sensory issues, or allergies. You need to know that healthcare is available if your child has a problem. You also want to be sure the camp will still be exciting for a child who may not be able to participate in every activity.

If you need a great summer camp for kids in New Jersey, you can’t go wrong with Black Bear Lake . We offer daily activities, special menus, and free swims that everyone enjoys, no matter the age.