Apple on Wednesday reported a new milestone for iTunes, its online music store and user library program: 25 billion songs have been sold through the "store" portion of the service since it debuted 12 years ago in January 2001. There are now 26 billion songs available for purchase on iTunes Store, as well. Apple celebrated the occasion by awarding the lucky 25 billionth song purchaser quite a prize:
The 25 billionth song, “Monkey Drums” (Goksel Vancin Remix) by Chase Buch, was purchased by Phillip Lüpke from Germany. As the downloader of the 25 billionth song, Phillip will receive a €10,000 iTunes® Gift Card.
Apple notes that the iTunes Store is the "world’s most popular music store." Prior to and for several years following the launch of iTunes in 2001, there was much uncertainty as to whether consumers would willingly pay for online music instead of pirating tracks off then-popular file sharing services, namely Napster, as documented in this 2003 Rolling Stone interview with Steve Jobs.
iTunes recently unveiled a fairly radical redesign in its iTunes 11 software update and now allows users to store tracks in the cloud via iTunes Match. Meanwhile, streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are also attempting to persuade listeners that their free or paid membership plans are a better, or at least, equally viable, listening option. Apple is reportedly preparing to launch a streaming music service of its own.