The iTunes Store: Five Years, Five Billion Song Downloads

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The iTunes Store has now crossed five billion song downloads, according to information confirmed by Apple.

The threshold comes more than five years after the initial launch of the service in late April of 2003, part of a mixed scorecard for paid downloads.  “iTunes is the number one music retailer in the US and features the largest music catalog with over eight million songs,” Apple declared in a statement.

Few would quarrel with those assertions, and iTunes still commands a dominant lead over its rivals.  That includes Amazon, blessed with DRM-free MP3s by major labels as part of a plan to ease Apple’s dominance and market power.  Others, including Napster, have also been granted MP3-based catalogs.

Whether that tilts the playing field remains unclear, though Apple continues to add billions at a measured pace.  The company posted its fourth billion in January, and the third billion was accomplished in late July of last year.

Meanwhile, broader year-over-year paid download increases have been cooling.  Apple also pointed to the sale or rental of 50,000 movies per day.