Page last updated at 08:34 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Talking Shop: iTunes Europe director Oliver Schusser

La Roux
La Roux's song In For The Kill topped iTunes' best single poll

iTunes has revealed its biggest selling singles and albums of 2009, with Black Eyed Peas and Kings of Leon topping the lists.

Lady Gaga also caps an amazing year, making the top three on both rundowns.

The website has also named the debut album of south London trio The Invisible as their best of 2009, with La Roux's In For The Kill deemed best single.

With more than 8.5 billion downloads and counting, senior director of iTunes Europe Oliver Schusser discusses the challenges of the coming year.


What are the biggest successes that iTunes has had over the past 12 months?

I think the launch of iTunes 9. And particularly in the UK, the iTunes festival which ran through July at the Roundhouse in London, that was really good with 20 million ticket requests. The apps have been a great success as well since they were launched 18 months ago.

What are your biggest challenges for 2010?

To be honest, most people in the UK still buy CDs so in the overall music industry we're a relatively small part
Oliver Schusser

Our number one challenge for the sixth year in a row is to continue to convince people that it is better to get content in the legal way than actually steal it from the internet. That's really what's driving us to make iTunes better and to have more content and offer exclusive content.

2010 unfortunately won't be different, we'll still be working with the record labels and service providers.

Recent research suggests that the most prolific filesharers on average spend more money on music. Looking at your figure of 8.5 billion downloads, some would say you're doing OK.

I'm sure if you called the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), they would tell you that more than 90% of music downloaded in the UK is stolen.

But it is amazing how much progress we've made in the past five years. I think for all the people who are willing to pay, and I believe there is a big portion of honest people, we and other services have provided a great alternative for getting music.

What do you think about the new website tunechecker.com that offers iPod owners a price comparison site where they may find a cheaper alternative to iTunes?

We've had price comparisons since we launched, there are many of them. We believe in simple pricing, so we don't have that many price points on the store.

iTunes
iTunes offers films and TV programmes

We want to make it easy and simple to buy content and if you look at the 11 million songs that we have in the store and hundreds and thousand of albums, we think we have great value for customers.

We're not the only place - some people go to other sites where if they can find cheaper content that's fine. It all comes down to what kind of products they like the most, and that's our focus.

The flipside to success is that iTunes could be accused of having a stranglehold on the industry, including now moving into live music. How do you react to the suggestion?

To start with the live music question, it was really a marketing tool and we're not in the ticketing business. At all of our events, the tickets are free.

But we believe in the value of music, we want to compensate artists and record labels and I think our focus is just having a great product.

Unfortunately a lot of people are still stealing music. And to be honest, most people in the UK still buy CDs so in the overall music industry we're a relatively small part.

Oliver Schusser was talking to BBC News entertainment reporter Kev Geoghegan.



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