Just Say No to Plateaus: iTunes Store Hits 8 Billion

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The broader picture on paid downloads has been disappointing, though a sluggish plateau appears to be ending.

During its most recent quarterly review, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer revealed cumulative song downloads of 8 billion, since a mid-2003 start.  “The iPhone OS 3.0 software allows customers to wirelessly download movies, TV, and audio programs directly to an iPhone or iPod touch and I am pleased to report that as of last week, customers had purchased and downloaded over 8 billion songs from the iTunes Store, yet another remarkable milestone,” Oppenheimer stated.

Oppenheimer squarely points to wireless, direct-to-device downloading capabilities as the catalyst, a nice outgrowth of iPhone and iPod touch success.  Still, the bigger story is that digital assets have largely failed to cover a massive physical decline, though the latest paid download increase is worth noting, especially given the totally dominant iTunes position.

Starting in early 2007, the iTunes Store established a yearly sales pace of about two billion annually.  In January of this year, Apple revealed a cumulative total of 6 billion, pegging a year-end estimate of at least 10 billion – more than double the previous pace.