European iTunes is growing, but America is still far away. This, given the data in hand, can be said after the announcement of the cutting of the finish line for the shops of the old continent of 50 million songs sold. Although the data is undoubtedly relevant and, by far, the most significant on a European scale, the comparison with the United States is disappointing.
To understand why you just need to do something.
Before reaching the threshold of the first 50 million songs sold, 335 days had to pass, when in 2003 iTunes sold music only in the United States,
The 17 European nations that, at different levels, have a national iTunes at their disposal, took about forty more days to mark the first 50 million songs sold: 378 days, as much as the highly anticipated iTMS debut in France, Germany and Great Britain of 15 June 2004.
The delay is not due to the population as Europe has more residents. The USA has a total of 295,734,134 inhabitants, the 17 European nations with an iTMS (France, Germany and Great Britain from 15/06/2004; Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Portugal and Spain since 10/26/2004; Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland since 10/05/2005) have a total of 394,388,865.
Leaving aside the disadvantage of the United States that first and alone have paved the way and forgetting that in Europe the introduction of the various iTMS arrived in different periods, both difficult to assimilate, we can generically say that, if in Europe a song was purchased from iTunes for every 7.88 people, in the US, every 5.91 inhabitants were downloaded a song from Apple's music store. The numbers refer to the only coherent data available to us, the first 50 million songs sold.
If it were possible to know the most recent data and for individual nations we would be able to better interpret the trends, but Apple insists on keeping this data secret only for internal use and consumption. A pity: we would all appreciate vertical growth better.
The contribution of iTunes Music Store Canada, active since 02/12/2004, remains outside the calculation, but has also contributed to the recent milestone of the 430 million songs sold globally by all the iTunes Music Store, the digital music store which holds 80% of the market and which follows the previous 400 million record of only 26 days.
The reasons for the slow speed with which digital music is being adopted in Europe are different, some of which are very complex and refer to the completely different cultural state between those who live in the old continent and those who reside in the United States. Others are specific to Apple's commercial offer (the cost of individual songs affects the portfolios of the European citizen more than the US citizen's), others cannot ignore the choices made by record companies that tend to penalize the European public with less variety and marketing proposals that are not as aggressive as in America (for example, there are few free songs on European stores). Probably for the simplest reasons to be identified they are in the different "technological" step between the USA and Europe that is found primarily in the spread of broadband, much more popular in the USA, and to the higher costs of connections. Less fast lines and higher Internet costs add up to a number of computers per capita that is lower than the US. Finally, we must not forget the all-American propensity for the use of IT tools and gadgets such as the computers themselves and MP3 players.
In any case, Apple must be given credit for having implemented an act of courage when it decided to expand its network for selling online music on so many different terrains. An act that will be even more courageous when, as easy to predict, Cupertino will arrive in Japan, Australia, China, Russia, India, Brazil. The curve of the difficulty becomes steeper, hoping that the sales growth curve of Apple's music sector will remain equally steep.