Counting Billions: Are iTunes Store Sales An Issue?

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Apple has now sold four billion song downloads on its iTunes Store, a feat accomplished after nearly five years.

That is a large number of paid downloads, but is iTunes growing fast enough?

A top-level look shows a rapid acceleration over past few years.  It took Apple more than two and one-half years to accomplish its first billion.  The threshold was announced in early February of 2006, after an initial launch in May of 2003.

But a slight deceleration is now emerging.  The fourth billion happened after roughly seven months, about equal to the time between the second and third billion.  The second billion was announced in early January of 2007, and the third came at the tail end of July.  That offers more evidence of a plateau, especially given the dominant position that Apple enjoys in the paid download space.