iTunes helps lead digital music shift
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. The growing popularity of Apple’s iTunes service became apparent today when The NPD Group reported that it was the second-largest music retailer in the United States, just behind Wal-Mart, based on the amount of music sold during 2007 (based on a 12-track CD equivalency for music track downloads).
iTunes growth also reflects the changing landscape of music retail, as legal downloads now account for 10% of the music acquired in the United States. According to NPD, 29 million consumers acquired digital music legally, via pay-to-download sites last year, which is an increase of 5 million over the previous year. Sales growth was largely driven by consumers age 36 to 50 – a segment that was aggressively acquiring digital music-players in 2007.
According to The NPD Group, a sharp increase in legal digital download revenues could not offset declines in CD sales, which resulted in a net 10% decline in music spending (from $44 to $40 per capita among Internet users). As a result the overall portion of music acquisition that consumers actually paid for fell to 42% in 2007 from 48% in 2006.
“The continued growth in legal download sites is encouraging, yet the industry struggles to improve the value of each digital customer,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group. “With so many baby boomers and gen-Xers entering the market, there are certainly opportunities to sell more digital albums, promote older catalog titles, or create bundles that will raise revenues. In the near term that’s going to be the best means available to narrow the gap on dwindling CD revenues.”
Family Dollar names human resources head
MATTHEWS, N.C. Family Dollar Stores today announced that Bryan Venberg has been named to the position of senior vp of human resources. Venberg will report to Howard Levine, chairman of the board and ceo.
Prior to joining Family Dollar, Venberg served as senior vp of operations of customer service and human resources with ShopNBC. He has held similar positions with Target, as well as with Marshall Fields.
Staples to offer free tax return copies
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced today that it will be offering its customers free copies of their 2007 tax returns. On April 15, Staples Copy & Print Centers nationwide will provide free copies, up to 20 pages, of 2007 tax returns.
“We have all become so comfortable storing and sending data electronically, that many people are not keeping hard copies of important documents,” said John Burke, senior vp of business services at Staples. “Nothing is easier to access and more reliable than a paper copy of your taxes, which is why Staples is offering free copies of tax returns.”