Chart Watch Extra: iTunes Turns 10
The iTunes Store, which opened for business 10 years ago on Sunday (April 28), has had a revolutionary impact on the music industry. It gave fans the opportunity to buy the one song from an album they most wanted, a simple but vital thing that fans hadn’t been able to do since the era of physical singles came to a virtual halt in 2000.
“Apple made music ubiquitous in a way it never was before,” Jeff Price, founder of TuneCore and co-founder of spinART Records, told Billboard. “…That ubiquitous-ness has driven a consumption of music that is unparalleled in the history of the world.”
That’s not just music business hyperbole. iTunes’ growth has been phenomenal. The service sold its 25 billionth song on Feb. 6, just seven years after it sold its billionth song (Feb. 23, 2006).
iTunes has been the leading music vendor in the U.S. since April 2008, when it surpassed Wal-Mart. It has been the leading music vendor in the world since February 2010. Last October, it was reported that iTunes represents 64% of the online music market.
A whopping 186 songs have sold 3 million or more digital copies (through all services, not just iTunes). 40 have sold 5 million. Four have sold 7 million.
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz has already sold 5,820,000 copies, which makes it the 22nd best-selling digital hit of all time. It has sold 4,703,000 of those copies since the beginning of the year. At this rate, 2013 may wind up being the third year in a row in which the year’s best-selling song has established a new record for calendar year digital sales. Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” set a record when it sold 5,813,000 copies in 2011. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra broke that record when it sold 6,801,000 copies in 2012.
These are staggering numbers. But it didn’t happen overnight.