The store, which started out with 200,000 songs, reached 25bn downloads earlier this year. Since its launch on April 28, 2003, it has accrued a catalogue of more than 35m songs and has about 435m active account- holders. On average, over 15,000 songs are downloaded every minute.
Gennaro Castaldo of HMV said the music store — along with the iPod — had “undoubtedly” played a major part in changing the way consumers discover and listen to music.
“Between them, they’ve helped to reshape the music landscape — in the process creating a commercially viable model for digital technology in much the same way the gramophone did for recordings some 100 years ago,” he said.
“The challenge for Apple now is that digital consumers appear to be moving away from owned downloads to streaming, and there are now a growing number of competitors all looking to challenge their market dominance.”
Cameron Farrelly, a music specialist at the advertising agency PD3, said iTunes “has given us unrestricted and portable access to music’s extensive back catalogue and taught the masses the art of a perfect playlist”.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, said the company took “great pride” in exposing music fans to new artists.
“When Apple introduced the iTunes Store on April 28, 2003, we thought if consumers had a great, legal way to download music they would embrace it — did they ever,” said Mr Cue.
“Apple was floored, as were the labels, when customers bought over 1m songs during the first week.”