While the momentum of the tech industry has decidedly swung in favor of the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and App Store, it should be noted that Apple’s entertainment juggernaut – iTunes, as it’s been called for a decade – has today surpassed a ridiculous number: 25 billion songs sold.
First opened in 2003 to serve the exploding iPod market, the iTunes Store quickly became the de facto place for legally obtaining music. Apple was able to secure the necessary legal deals due to the rampant rate of piracy and success of sites that made sharing illegal music files easy and accessible.
Since then, iTunes has served multiple purposes for Apple. At first, it was music only. The available library at the beginning was notably smaller, as not all recording companies were on board with this idea, which at the time was radical. However, as iTunes grew to accommodate more forms of media – podcasts, audiobooks, movies, and TV shows – so did its market penetration. By the time the iPhone was announced, Apple was easily the leader in online legal music distribution.
Today, iTunes is the leader in legal music distribution, period. While Amazon is (slowly) gaining traction, Apple’s foothold has held steady thanks to the success of iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone. And, today, that foothold has resulted in the purchase of the 25,000,000,000 song.
Pretty crazy for a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy roughly 15 years ago.