‘1,000 songs is enough’

An interesting factoid over at AppleInsider:

Even though Apple Computer is now selling a version of its iPod mini digital music player with 50% more capacity than earlier models, the company’s original 4GB configuration continues to be the most popular amongst consumers.

The 4GB iPod mini, which retails for $199, is outselling the $249 6GB model by an approximate 3 to 1 ratio, according to sources who monitor Apple’s retail store operations.

On instinct, employees working at Apple’s retail stores will attempt to up-sell consumers from a 4GB, which holds 1000 songs, to a 6GB capable of retain about 1500 tunes. But insiders say the average consumer response is: ‘1000 songs is enough.’

Apparently the 4GB model is also pulling in people who might otherwise buy the iPod shuffle, as it only costs $50 (is that £50?) more.

Interesting: I’ve said previously that I don’t think mobile phones will take over from iPods, because of things like the user interface problem. But the “1,000 songs” mark is clearly one that resonates with people. Quick, how many songs do you have in your CDs and around? Guess – go on. (I’ve got 200 CDs so.. about 2,000, except iTunes assures me I’ve got more like 4,000, so something else going on there..)

My point being that once mobile phones can store 1,000 songs, they’re absolutely going to be contenders. However their other problems – song quality, user interface – will remain.


  1. I would contend it depends on your mix of “Old CDs” versus “New CDs.”

    A CD holds 70 minutes worth of music. Your typical vinyl LP is less than 45 minutes. So your typical vinyl LP would hold about 10-12 “pop” songs. When they redid the vinyl LPs into CDs, generally they kept the same track arrangement.

    So if you took your old vinyl LP collection and replaced it with purchased CDs, yeah I could go for the 2000 song number. But if you have music produced since CDs became popular or have purchased some “greatest hits” CDs, you may find that you have closer to 15 songs per CD.

    Of course, those extra songs could be what you snagged from Kazaa… :^)

  2. I didn’t realise they were still selling the 4Gb models. I’d suspect that $50 just doesn’t seem particularly good value just for some more space. The mini is aimed at people who don’t have very large music collections and thus prefer the very small form factor, so an extra 50% of space isn’t going to make them pay more.

  3. More insteresting in this discussion is whether purchasers of the 4GB ipod Mini still feel 4GB is enough after owing it for a few months. I just got finished doing an install for a client and who specifically asked for (2) 4GB ipod Minis but commented that a 1000 really isn’t that many songs after I showed him how easy it was to import his CD’s. It is only about 70 or so albums (depending on there length of course) and most music listers own more CD’s than that. There is something really nice about being able to hold your entire iTunes library on the iPod (no hassle of managing the music you want on your portable and not being able to pay a song because you forgot to add it.) Also, it is nice to have free HD space on the iPod to use for Data Portability (I use this feature all the time on my iPod). Personally, I think as soon as your iTunes music library exceeds your iPod capacity you will second guess that decision to not spend $50 for 50% more storage. I also think it is funny that the some of the same people who think spending $50 more on 6GB iPod Mini is outrageous don’t bat an eye at buying a dock for $40 or a cafe latte for $5.

  4. Hey Peter a modern CD can actually hold 80 Minutes, but I point is still valid.

  5. If you are into older music (blues, early jazz etc.) then you will regularly find CDS with 25 or 26 tracks on them. Many of the CDS in the boxed sets from Proper have this kind of number on them, only dropping with later music where longer performances were possible.

  6. I’m hoping for more of a symbiosis between mobile phone and iPod. Buy a song from the mobile iTMS whenever and wherever you want to, then transmit it automatically to an iPod or Mac. As long as the price, drm and format are the same through both types of “shops” then it will takeoff. Currently there is no way people will pay triple in order for the privilege of buying music restricted to your phone. Yes, I know ringtones are big business now, but they will also be extinct very soon.

  7. I do’t think it has anything to do with capacity it’s the price. It’s $199 with is a good buy for that size MP3 player. That’s what makes it attractive.

    Actually most people could fill a Mini 4gig up wih their music collection. Price is important in electronics. Apple does well with the ipod since it’s competitively priced. I’m suprised they haven’t learning that with there Pro machines yet.

  8. “Quick, how many songs do you have in your CDs and around? Guess – go on…”

    Oh dear. 2400 CDs, 3000 LPs on reel-to-reel, 1700 vinyl LPs, 900 LPs & CDs on cassette… what’ll happen is that I’ll make a concerted effort, put ’em all on a 160 gig Ipod when one comes out, then the battery will conk out & I’ll lose the lot.

  9. Well, 1000 is the magic number. I dont think mobile phones will become contenders because there is an interference issue with the headphones and the phone itself. I’m surprised mobile phones haven’t taken over yet. Apple are very clever on their ipods.

  10. I don’t think Mobile phones will ever become IPODS.

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