Apple hits 25 million iTunes downloads

Apple Computer has nearly doubled sales of digital music through its iTunes music store since launching a Windows-compatible version of its iTunes software in October, the company said.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said Monday that customers have downloaded a total of 25 million songs from iTunes since April, when the online store opened, with 12 million songs purchased during the past two months alone. Apple has been widely credited with sparking a boom in sales of downloadable music following the music industry's crackdown on illegal Internet file-swapping services such as Kazaa and Napster. Unlike its no-pay-to-play predecessors, the iTunes service charges 99 cents per song. iTunes' rapid growth has exceeded some analysts' expectations. "This really underscores the pace at which people are accepting legitimate online music distribution," said Phil Leigh, senior analyst at Inside Digital Media.

iTunes customers download an average of 1.5 million songs from the service per week, said Apple Vice President of Application Marketing Rob Schoeben. Apple expects that customers will download 100 million songs by the first anniversary of iTunes' launch next April. Apple executives are "blown away" at the rate at which people are purchasing songs at the company's store, Schoeben said. "You normally have a launch spike, and then you see it taper off," Schoeben said. "We're not seeing that. We're adding more and more accounts. We're not seeing people trying it and then going away. What we see in the numbers is that they're getting hooked."

News source: C|Net News.com

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