Apple’s iTune Store Eclipses 25 Billion Song Downloads

Andrew Klips  |

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) may have seen its share price tumble in recent months, but downloads from its popular iTunes store haven’t missed a beat.  The world’s most valuable company said Wednesday morning that the number of downloads from iTunes has now crossed the 25 billion mark.  To put it into perspective, that means that every man, woman and child on the planet would have to download three songs to reach that many downloads.

In a corporate statement today, Apple identified the 25,000,000,000th song as "Monkey Drums" (Goksel Vancin Remix) by Chase Buch, saying the tune was purchased by Phillip Lupke from Germany. As the downloader of the 25 billionth song, Phillip will receive an iTunes gift card worth EUR10,000 (US$13,525).

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Service, said that the iTunes store averages 15,000 song downloads per minute.

iTunes made its debut 12 years ago.  To date, it is available in 119 countries and has a library of 26 million songs available for download in addition to applications, videos and more.  Some critics voice concern that competition from services such as music-streamer Pandora (P) or Google (GOOG) are slowing the roll of iTunes, but the numbers indicate that sales are gaining steam.

It took Apple a decade to reach 10 billion downloads.  15 billion more have happened now in the past two years.

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"In a lot of ways, iTunes has leveled the playing field for musicians. Whether you're unsigned, indie, major, whatever--it's the place most people go to buy digital music," said Wesley Schultz, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Lumineers, in Apple’s prepared statement.  Schultz went on to say that iTunes doesn’t discriminate against artists just because they aren’t yet established.

The new download trophy can go on Apple’s mantle next to its award as the largest phone vendor in the United States that it earned earlier this month.  On February 1, research firm Strategy Analytics estimated that Apple shipped 17.7 million of its iPhones to U.S. consumers in the fourth quarter, or about 33 percent of all new phones delivered cumulatively between every manufacturer.  Samsung was number two with 16.8 million phones.

Apple has been heavily scrutinized by analysts concerned about it being able to maintain its growth curve, especially after reporting basically flat earnings in the first fiscal quarter of 2013 as compared to Q1 fiscal 2012, although it notched record iPhone and iPad sales.

Shares have tumbled from over $700 each in September to as low as $435 last week, causing Apple to relinquish its status as the world’s biggest company to Exxon Mobil (XOM), but only for one day.  A slide in value by Exxon and a modest recovery by Apple has put Apple back in the position that it held for more than one year.  The stock price has managed to maintain the slightest of uptrends since, trading today at $462 for gains of about 1 percent on the day.

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