iTunes Music Store Hits 100 Million Download Mark

Appleis iTunes Music Store sold its 100 millionth song late Sunday, marking a milestone in the companyis history as it continues to dominate much of the online music industry.

The 100 millionth song was sold Sunday. The company publicly announced the news early Monday morning on its Web site.

To mark the milestone, Apple awarded a special gift package to Kevin Britten, age 20, of Hays, Kansas, who bought and downloaded the 100 millionth song. Mr. Britten downloaded Somersault (Dangermouse remix) by Zero7 and won a 17-inch PowerBook, a 40GB iPod, a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes songs and the opportunity to create his own custom playlist to be published on the iTMS.

Apple first announced at the beginning of July a countdown contest, offering a giveaway to users in the US, UK, France and Germany where the iTunes Music Store is available. Apple offered 50 special 20GB iPods to purchasers of each 100,000th song sold in addition to the grand prize package.

When first introduced in October 2003, Apple CEO Steve Jobs vowed that iTMS would sell 100 million songs in its first year, ending April 28 of this year. Jobs and Apple fell short of that goal by some 30 million songs.

"As we cross this historic milestone, we want to thank our customers, the artists and the music labels who have embraced our dream for iTunes," Mr. Jobs said in a prepared statement. "iTunes quickly outpaced the competition and is far and away the worldis number one online music service.

Apple Computer said in June that 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 confirmed to The Mac Observer. Neither Nielsen/SoundScan nor any other company calculates an overall online music industry market share or ranking.

According to the Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm, the iPod brand has a 50% to 60% share of the U.S. market for hard-drive-based audio players.