updated 05:30 am EST, Mon January 10, 2011
From zero to over 10 billion songs sold
Apple’s iTunes application turned 10 years old on Sunday. First launched on January 9, 2001 some nine months ahead of the launch of the first iPod on October 23, 2001, the application has seen a number of major milestones as it has evolved over the past decade. First available as a Mac OS 9-only application for organizing people’s digital music collections, its functionality has expanded significantly. It now supports movies, TV shows, podcasts, iTunes U, internet radio, App downloads, and book downloads. Its arrival and its ongoing development has been critical to the success that Apple has enjoyed with its iPod line, and iPhone and iPad franchises.
It was in 2003 that Apple launched the iTunes Music Store with 200,000 songs at 99 cents each. Like the recently launched Apple Mac App Store, it had one million downloads in its first week. By December of 2003 it clocked up over 25 million song downloads. By 2005 iTunes downloads had reached 500 million downloads. In October of the same year, iTunes expanded to include TV shows and music videos. It then only took another year when in 2006, Apple announced it has in February 2006 that iTunes had sold its one billionth song. In September of 2006, iTunes added its first full-length movie catalog.
2007 marked the year that Apple introduced the iPhone. The wild success of the iPhone helped iTunes to top two billion song downloads, 50 million TV shows sold, and 1.3 million movie downloads by which time Apple’s iTunes ecosystem was now being fueled by over 140 million iPods. In July of 2008, around a year and a half after the iPhone was first introduced, Apple unveiled its App store addition to the iTunes juggernaut. By July 2009 the iTunes App store had marked its first anniversary with more than 1.5 billion apps sold.
Last year, the iTunes store achieved its 10 billionth song download, just after its ninth anniversary.
When one looks back at the milestones that iTunes has clocked up over the past decade, it is no coincidence that its arrival was critical in helping to kickstart Apple’s amazing comeback over the past decade under the guidance of its genius CEO Steve Jobs.
2011 marked the year where Apple, reached a market cap in excess of $300 billion to become the second most valuable company on the planet, behind only Exxon Mobil.
The role that the iTunes application has played in that achievement cannot be understated. Its ease of use, seamless content transfer and ever expanding array of entertainment choices has made it a formidable challenge for competitors to overcome.