iPod and its siblings revolutionised the music business and gave labels a lifeline just when they needed one.
So the number of people who own at least one iPod is smaller than Apple’s headline stats because some people own more than one?
But Mulligan, whom we followed up with, has a darker warning for the companies that rely on iPod:
“But it is a big big deal for digital music sales.
Mulligan’s thesis, which cuts through the larger numbers being bandied about, would suggest that digital music sales, which still aren’t offsetting record label revenue decline, are set to plateau as does the number of people who own players.
“And, of course,” Mulligan tells us, “if you get more sophisticated with the modeling, you can end up with even lower numbers (e.g. factoring in multiple device ownership etc).”
One possible route to continued growth, we reckon - unlimited-access music services like Spotify and Rhapsody that, unlike the a la carte track download option offered by iTunes and its ilk, offer up the entire “celestial jukebox”.