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iTunes: Apps Downloading Faster than Songs

Apple just started its countdown clock to 10 billion song downloads.

I combined the data available for iTunes downloads of Songs and Apps (from Wikipedia) in the graphs above.

Obviously, the App download rate is increasing (i.e apps are accelerating more rapidly) than songs. Both are averaging about 10 million units per day over the past 3 months.

A Download Totals graph also shows the acceleration plainly with the App Store getting to 3 Billion downloads in 19 months vs. 36 months for Songs. A curve-fitting analysis shows that the App store will reach 10 billion downloads 27 months after launch or around October 2010.

The same analysis shows that the App Store will overtake the Music Store in total units downloaded in December 2010 when they both reach around 13.5 billion downloads.


  • http://asymco.wordpress.com asymco

    In response to the question: What are “units downloaded”?

    Unit = Song = App?

    ——–
    Units downloaded are either. In the case of App store it’s Apps, in the case of Music Store it’s songs.

    In my analysis, there will be about 13.5 billion songs downloaded by December and, at around the same time, there will also be 13.5 billion cumulative app downloads.

    In the second graph, the green line and the blue line will be the same “height” of about 14 when the green line reaches month 29 and the blue line reaches month 76.

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  • Tom Ross

    That's impressive. In terms of revenue, Apple probably needs 4 app downloads for every iTunes download (because most app downloads are free and most songs are not really $1 anymore). When might that happen, according to your analysis?

    • http://asymco.wordpress.com asymco

      I just have no idea on what the sales for the App Store are. Apple have not hinted and no analyst has put forward any credible method for finding out. From a financial reporting point of view, there is the iTunes (actually called Music) revenue line in the income statement. That blends the music and apps business, but with a twist. For apps, Apple only reports income as net of sales, meaning only the 30% they keep. The 70% that passes through is not in the income statement. There is still not enough information to tease out what the app store is generating in revenue independently.

      • Tom Ross

        "I just have no idea on what the sales for the App Store are. Apple have not hinted and no analyst has put forward any credible method for finding out."

        Actually Flurry did that at one point, but I think their numbers for Apps were too high.

        Me, I'm just going on 2 observations:

        1. Within Apple's Top 100 lists, free apps are downloaded roughly an order of magnitude more often than paid apps, ie the #10 free app is seeing 40k downloads per day while the #10 paid app is seeing 4k downloads per day.

        Of course this is very rough, as, inspite of many indie developers graciously sharing their download figures, visibility is limited by Apple's trailing figures (ie when they rank the daily perfomance app, they're counting sales of the past few days as well, but with a smaller weight) and by apps perfoming differently worldwide than in the US.

        2. The average price point for an app is around $3.

        I combine that to an guesstimated average of $0.30 per app download. For iTunes, I assume $1.20 per song (songs are cheaper than bought with an album, but more expensive outside the US).

        "For apps, Apple only reports income as net of sales, meaning only the 30% they keep. The 70% that passes through is not in the income statement."

        Do you have a source for that? Because in legal terms, Apple is clearly buying apps from the publishers and selling them to customers. They're not just a marketplace like eBay, they are the vendor, they have a contract of sale with the consumer, they're touching the money, and that money should show up somewhere in their financial report.