Apple Launches iTunes 'Countdown' Promotion

Apple Computer announced Thursday it will mark the sale of the 100 millionth song from its iTunes Music Store by giving away 50 20GB iPods, along with a special gift package to the customer who downloads the 100 millionth song.

The 100 million song promotion will begin sometime on July 2 as the company passes the mark of 95 million song sold through its online music store. Starting then, Apple will give away 50 special 20GB iPods, one to the purchaser of each 100,000th song sold.

The customer who buys the coveted 100 millionth song will win the grand prize of a 17-inch PowerBook, a 40GB iPod, and a gift certificate for 10,000 free iTunes songs. The winner will also have the opportunity to create their own iCelebrity Playlisti to be published on the iTunes Music Store.

The promotion is open to iTunes Music Store users in the US, UK, France and Germany, the company said.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the promotion is Appleis way of thanking its customers for their business.

"iTunes is pulling even further ahead of its competitors, and itis all due to the wonderful customers we have," Mr. Jobs said in a prepared statement.

Apple also said Thursday it had sold over 1.5 million songs through its European online stores in the UK, France and Germany since they were launched two weeks ago.

The company said it controls more than a 70% market share of legal downloads for singles and albums worldwide. In actual fact, Apple is calculating itis own market share based on its knowledge of downloads from its iTunes Music Store and subtracting from the total number of online music service downloads reported by Nielsen/SoundScan each week, Apple has confirmed to The Mac Observer. Neither Nielsen/SoundScan nor any other company calculates an overall online music industry market share or ranking.