Looking back at a week of numbers from NIN, to the iPhone, to a pop-singing prostitute

nin coverIt’s been a week full of numbers. And we’re not talking the usual investment dollars. Or a mega purchase like AOL buying Bebo for 850 million bucks. No, we’re looking at sales, estimated sales, profitability, downloads, a first-time dip in online video viewership, and future profit from allegedly sleeping with the now-former governor of New York.

So, without further adieu, and in no particular order (it is Friday after all), a look back at a week of numbers.

Nine Inch Nails earns $1.6 million in first week

Ghosts I-IV”, the latest from the industrial-rock band Nine Inch Nails, totaled just under 800,000 transactions in its first week, racking up $1.6 million in revenue for Trent Reznor — not a traditional record label. “Ghosts”, a collection of interesting sounds and electronic improvisations, is the band’s first release since Reznor declared NIN a free agent last October.

“Ghosts” transactions include all available configurations, including free and paid downloads and advance orders for physical releases of limited-edition vinyl, CDs, and a boxed set. In fact, the deluxe-edition box, priced at a whopping $300, already sold-out of its limited 2,500-copy run.

These numbers were provided by NIN, which will not release traditional sales figures to SoundScan, which tracks sales data for singles, albums, and music videos in Canada and the U.S. We’re not sure why, other than the fact NIN doesn’t have to as the music was not sold through traditional channels.

Take that music industry!

Video game sales soar in the U.S.

Sales of video game hardware and software in the U.S. rose 34 percent in February to reach $1.33 billion. That’s a heck of a lot of PlayStations, Xboxes, Wiis, and first-person shooters for a month that’s traditionally slow coming off a holiday high.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 topped Microsoft’s Xbox (281,000 units to 255,000) for the second consecutive month, according to figures released by marketing research firm NPD. Nintendo’s Wii still leads with 432,000 consoles sold in the month, but we’re not sure that’s possible as we still can’t find one for sale around here.

And these numbers don’t even include the latest release of “Grand Theft Auto IV”, which is due to hit stores April 29.

Disney sells millions of movies and videos on iTunes

disney filmsDisney recorded $35 billion in annual sales last year, so selling four million movies and between 40-to-50 million videos on iTunes since 2006 isn’t all that much, relatively speaking.

Peter Kafka at Silicon Alley Insider put on his math hat and ran some numbers: All in all, Disney made almost $123 million from digital movie and video downloads. “The upside,” Kafka notes, “for Disney is that this is all incremental revenue, with zero marketing costs. So they’d rather have it than not.”

We’d like to remind folks, too, that legal digital movie and video downloading is still in its infancy. Wonder what that number will be in five years?

iTunes is “quite profitable” for Apple

Now that iTunes is the second-largest distributor of music in the world, Billboard decided to take another look at the store and found it is “quite profitable for Apple.” (via Ars Technica)

It’s been a long-held belief that the iTunes Store was simply there to entice people to buy iPods and that is was a loss-leader for Apple. But with more than four billion songs sold, iTunes looks like a money-maker.

According to Billboard, Apple sold 1.7 billion songs last year, with 940 million purchased in the U.S. and 732 elsewhere. Working its math mojo, Billboard estimates iTunes revenues of $1.9 billion. With a profit margin of roughly 30 percent, that adds up to $570 million in gross profit.

We’ve said all along that iTunes is not a loss leader meant to generate iPod sales. iTunes is the content hub, meant to feed the Apple digital entertainment ecosystem.

iphone sdkiPhone SDK downloaded 100,000 times

Apple says the software developer kit (SDK) for the iPhone has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since its introduction last week. That means three things.

1) There’s a heck of a lot of developers out there interested in the iPhone platform.

2) As Ars Technica notes, a bunch of consumers thought the SDK was a new installable game for the iPhone, or having an SDK on one’s Mac is a sign of nerdy-cool credibility.

3) We’d like to think that at least some of the 100,000 are super-talented developers who are writing game-changing mobile applications.

Apple lists Intuit, Namco, NetSuite, PopCap, Rocket Mobile, Six Apart, and THQ Wireless among the companies developing applications for the iPhone. We’d like to see what Big Dave and Nick Switch and other indie developers are cooking up.

Apple DVR could add up to “billions”

AppleInsider yesterday uncovered a patent that deals with digital video recorder-like capabilities, allowing users to browse television programming, tune into TV channels, record programs, and playback those shows through some sort of set-top box, either the AppleTV Take 3 or some new device.

Reacting to the patent, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu crunched numbers and found in a very speculative way that an Apple DVR could be worth more than $1 billion annually to the company — assuming, of course, it’s ever manufactured. (via AppleInsider)

“We estimate AppleTV to be a very minor contributor today at ~0.3-0.4 percent of revenue or $100-125 million annually,” Wu wrote in a note to clients. “We believe adding the ability to watch and record live TV could turn this into a billion dollar, if not multi-billion dollar business.”

If that ever happens, the AppleTV will officially move from a “hobby” into the “serious business” category for Apple.

Oneline video-watching drops for the first time

For the first time since comScore started releasing video stats, the number of online videos watched in a month dipped from the month before. In January 9.8 billion videos were watched online, down from 10.1 in December, a trend that’s consistent with Nielsen’s January figures.

Video juggernaut YouTube raised its share of videos watched to 34.3 percent, almost a 2 percent increase over December. comScore also found that the average viewer watched 70 videos in January and 206 minutes worth of content.

15 minutes of fame = millions of $$$

dupreAnd finally, the $1,000-an-hour prostitute reportedly hired by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer can cash in her 15 minutes of fame for at least $1 million. (via Reuters)

First with the wallet out is none other than Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who told Access Hollywood television today that he plans to offer Ashley Alexandra Dupre $1 million to pose nude for his magazine. Another adult publication, Penthouse, is also considering making an offer.

An aspiring 22-year-old singer (aren’t all these political-scandal divas aspiring singers or movie stars?), Dupre’s pop songs “What We Want” and “Move Ya Body” are ranked as the two best-selling songs on the AimeStreet.com music sharing Web site.

An AimeStreet spokesman said “Move Ya Body” was uploaded to the site, which uses a demand-price model, around 2 a.m. on Thursday and rose to the highest download price (98 cents) faster than any other song in the site’s history.

Reuters figures that Dupre’s page on AimeStreet has been viewed more than 300,000 times, and artists get a 70 percent cut of sales. If 1 million copies are sold, that’s an estimated $680,000 for the sure-to-be former prostitute from New Jersey.

Photo credit of Dupre: Reuters via her MySpace page


last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “Looking back at a week of numbers from NIN, to the iPhone, to a pop-singing prostitute”

  1. Matt D. says:

    Good for NIN. The more artists that take to this independent form of album releases the better the music industry will become.

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