iTunes approaching 500 million downloads

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

A little over two years after launching the iTunes music downloads service, Apple today said that it is counting down to 500 million sold songs. As part of the countdown, the company is giving away iPod mini and an iTunes gift card for 50 songs to the iTunes customer who purchases the winning song at each 100,000 interval. The person who downloads the 500 millionth song will win the grand prize-10 iPods of their choice to share with family and friends, an iTunes gift card for 10,000 songs and an all-expense paid trip for four to see Coldplay on their world tour.

Apple also announced the availability of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Long and Winding Road" on the iTunes Music Store. Both songs were recorded live at this past weekend's Live 8 benefit concerts featuring U2 and Sir Paul McCartney. Proceeds from the sales of these one-time-only performances will benefit debt relief in Africa, the company said.

iTunes is believed to remain the dominant commercial music download service for some time to come, although some analysts said Apple will have to shift its business model to stay ahead of its competition. The company does not release sales figures for the ITunes store other than a sum that consists of iTunes, "related" services and iPod accessories. This amount was $216 million in the most recent quarter which led analysts to believe the current monthly sales are in the range of about 40 to 50 million songs. (THG)