It wasn't too long ago that ole Steve opened a few of his famed keynotes boasting about just how much money was flowing into the iTunes Music Store, and now we've even got the option to snag feature films and TV shows if our wallet so desires, but it appears that even the streamlined, previously trendy iTMS may be on the decline. It's no secret that folks looking to pick up some new tunes would like to avoid DRM at all costs, but instead of seeing CD sales skyrocket, there's simply been a general decrease across the board in the whole "music buying scene." While digital downloads initially looked to fill the void, that theory seems to have been short lived; since January, the monthly revenue going into Apple's iTMS has fallen by "65-percent," with the average transaction size falling "17-percent." Notably, it's not just Apple suffering the cashflow drought, as Nielsen Soundscan reports that the digital download "industry as a whole" is steadily declining. Additionally, research has shown that the "median household" spent just "three dollars" about six times per year, showing that digital downloads aren't exactly "replacing the CD," but rather complimenting hardcopy sales at best. Interestingly, analysts are theorizing that the DRM-era may actually be winding down in favor of "blanket licensing," which was cast aside just years ago in favor of the "per purchase" approach. Discussions are already taking place in the UK to test the waters of such a bundle package, but we don't realistically expect the business model here to change overnight -- but considering the duties the RIAA wants to toss on anything digital, we wonder just how attractive a new plan will be.

UPDATE: Based on Forrester's reports, the data cited was from the first six months from the previous year, which leaves open the possibility of seasonal swings skewing sales.

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iTunes sales "collapsing," blanket licensing to succeed?