Recent research suggests that iPod owners buy very little from the iTunes Store, an activity that Apple must place heavy reliance on to increase revenue.
Jupiter Research found that owners buy an average of 20 tracks from iTunes, about 5% of their music collection. Most comes from ripped CDs and music downloads from other sites. 83% of iPod owners don’t buy music online on a regular basis.
Some of this is not surprising – after all most people have extensive CD collections that they want to rip to their PC and then iPod. There’s also something about browsing around a record store that most people enjoy, and there’s still a wider variety of music for those whose tastes don’t match the iTunes catalogue.
iTunes is quite cool for downloading single tracks from albums that aren’t usually available as albums, but downloading complete albums is barely cheaper on iTunes than buying the CD, which you can usually still rip to your iPod and have something tangible to hold.
Whether iTunes will suffer as a result of other services, including free ad-supported networks like Spiral Frog, or become more popular as movie downloads are added to the mix, remains to be seen.
Do you buy music from iTunes or do you prefer CDs or other online sources (ask no questions) for getting tracks onto your iPod?