Thursday, December 28, 2006

Digital music sales triple

TREND OF THE WEEK: The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reported today that digital music sales worldwide was approximately $790 million in the first half of 2005, compared with $220 million in the first half of 2004. The IFPI says that digital music sales now represents 6% of the total record industry sales. Physical sales of records fell 1.9% in the first half of 2005, with $13.2 billion compared to $13.4 billion in 1H 2004.

The group says the decline in physical factors was attributed to many factors, including lower retail prices for CDs, a small decline in DVD music video sales, the impact of illegal downloads and CD burning, and other factors, including release schedules, commercial piracy and competition from other entertainment sectors.

GADGET OF THE WEEK: Disney Consumer Products has launched a series of MP3/WMA digital audio players geared towards kids and teens. The USB-based Disney Mix Sticks will cost $49.99 and come in four different versions – Disney Chrome, Forever Princess (pink/purple), Tinker Bell (purple/green, pictured) and a "That's So Raven"-branded device. The Mix Sticks will include 128M-bytes of storage (about 60 songs), but an additional SD/MMC card slot will allow for storage of up to 1G-bytes. For users without computers, Disney plans to sell Disney Mix Clips – cards that include music from Walt Disney Records already on it. The Mix Sticks will include a 10-hour, built-in rechargeable battery, stereo earbuds and a USB 2.0 connector. The devices will go on sale in mid-October at retailers and at the Disney Shopping Web site.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The phishers keep getting smarter – instead of just casting out a wide net in order to capture detailed information from unwitting recipients, they're now taking a direct marketing approach to specify attacks on groups of individuals. The new trend is called "spear phishing," and it's a new threat you should be aware of. Check out this story from PC World about the new attack method.