Legit music downloads via the Net and cell phones rang up $1.1 billion in sales during 2005, marking a triple increase over 2004. That figure makes up 6 percent of global record sales.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reported 420 million tracks were downloaded last year, twice as much as 2004’s 156 million.

“2005 was the year the digital music market took shape,” IFPI Chairman John Kennedy said when releasing the numbers.

The IFPI also renewed its call for Internet service providers to ally with the music industry in the war against music piracy. So far, ISPs have taken a “not our job” stance in regard to policing their networks for unauthorized copyrighted content.

Lately the IFPI has followed the Recording Industry Association of America’s lead by suing individuals suspected of trading copyrighted songs. In announcing the latest figures, Kennedy put the ISPs “on notice” and said the recording industry would consider litigation if service providers continued to hold back from aiding record companies’ search and sue campaigns.

However, while the recording industry has been keen on having ISPs join in on the fight, record labels haven’t actually considered, at least not publicly, how much it would cost Internet providers to do so. Filters, programmers and extra people manning terminals looking for illicit copies of Madonna’s latest single cost money, an expense that would probably be passed on to ISP customers.

Considering the complaints from music fans about CD prices, you can imagine the uproar an Internet access rate hike would cause, especially if the rates were directly related to ISPs assisting the recording industry in its anti-piracy campaign.

Hardly a pretty picture.


Everybody knew 2005 was a good year for Apple, but no one expected it to be that good.

“We are thrilled to report the best quarter in Apple’s history,” Steve Jobs said, referring to 2005’s final quarter.

So, how good was that last quarter?

Apple earned $565 million, or 65 cents per share, up from $295 million, or 35 cents per share from the previous year’s holiday quarter.

Apple revenues climbed to $5.75 billion, up from $3.49 billion one year ago. That’s a lot of iPods. And Macs. And iTunes downloads.

So what happened after Jobs trumpeted his company’s earning power?

The stock went down.

As it turns out, a soft forecast for the second quarter caused Apple’s stock to drop more than 4 percent in extended trading January 18. It seems that Apple said it expects revenue of about $4.3 billion and earnings per share of 38 cents, while analysts originally predicted earnings of 48 cents per share on revenue of $4.6 billion.