iTunes Store Crosses Three Billion, Retail Ranking Rises

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The iTunes Store has now sold three billion song downloads, an accomplishment that comes roughly four years after launch.

The result represents an accelerating sales pace, and establishes an annual sales rate of nearly two billion downloads.  “We’d like to thank all of our customers who have contributed to this incredible milestone,” said Eddy Cue, Apple vice president of iTunes.  The store now has a catalog of five million songs, 550 television shows and 500 movies, part of an increasingly diversified mix.

As usual, the tally easily eclipses results from rival stores like Napster, Rhapsody, and eMusic, though iTunes is now a heavy-hitter on a broader scale.  The Apple store is currently ranked as the third largest music retailer overall, behind only Amazon and Target.  Looking ahead, decreased floorspace at big-box retailers could soon catapult Apple into a first- or second-place position.  The three-billion announcement, issued Tuesday, comes on the heels of an ultra-splashy iPhone release.