Apple’s iTunes music store is about to break its biggest milestone.
The iTunes Store is expected to sell its ten billionth track sometime today. The store, which has sold 9,997,750,000 tracks at the time of writing, has averaged a cool 4 million track downloads per day since it was opened on April 28th, 2003.
Apple’s store, which was compared to “largely unsuccessful plans by companies like Liquid Audio or the record labels themselves” at launch, has proven to be one of the biggest business successes of the last decade.
Indeed, the iTunes Store has almost single-handedly revolutionized the music industry’s sales model. While labels knew that the music business was moving towards a direct-to-download model, they dragged their heels in implementing it. However, when Apple came to the table with the labels, they brought their rapidly-growing iPod customer base with them.
Indeed, Apple has sold more than 240 million iPods worldwide, and iTunes has become the gold standard for music downloading. What started as 200,000 available songs has exploded to over 10 million songs, 1 million podcasts, and has spawned the similarly successful App Store.
In fact, the iTunes Store has been largely responsible for Apple’s continuing strong iPod sales. While there are certainly other useful, competent MP3 players out there (Zune HD and…uh…the Zune HD again), consumers are often driven to the iPod and iPhone due in large part to the iTunes Store’s catalog.
This is a tremendous achievement, and when the sales counter ticks over to 10 billion tracks sold later today, you can bet that there’s going to be a heck of a party in Cupertino.