Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Big Music to Apple: Thanks for a Merry Christmas

The music industry is pretty much conditioned to expect bad news at every turn these days. So this had to feel nice: Apple reports that its iTunes store had its “biggest music quarter ever” during the last three months of 2008. And the company says it posted “record” music sales during Christmas week and on Christmas Day.

But… it’s hard to read too much into that. Apple (AAPL) doesn’t attach actual numbers to those superlatives, so there’s not much context there.

And given that Apple is reporting record sales of iPods for the quarter, the real surprise would be if music sales were not great: iTunes songs sales are now closely tethered to Apple hardware sales. During Apple’s earnings call this afternoon, the company explained that all of the growth in its iPod sales occurred during the last week of December. So there’s your Christmas boom explained.

Still, better than a stick in the eye. And a pleasant change from the usual negative (but true!) stories about the industry. We’ll get a much better sense of music’s health when Warner Music Group (WMG) reports its quarterly results Feb. 5.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik