December 15, 2003: Almost eight months after launching the iTunes Music Store, Apple celebrates its 25 millionth download.
The song in question? Appropriately enough for this time of year, a Frank Sinatra cover* of the Christmas classic “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
iTunes: The most successful online music store
“With over 25 million songs purchased and downloaded to date, the iTunes Music Store is hands-down the most successful online music store,” Steve Jobs said in a statement at the time. “Music fans are buying and downloading almost 1.5 million songs per week from the iTunes Music Store, which is a rate of 75 million songs per year.”
Jobs’ forecasts proved incredibly accurate. By the following July, Apple sold its 100 millionth song, Zero 7’s “Somersault (Dangermouse remix),” purchased by Kevin Britten from Hays, Kansas.
Today, iTunes has sold north of 40 billion songs, although downloads have been eclipsed by streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.
iTunes Music Store in 2003
The iTunes Music Store circa 2003 offered what seems today a comparatively paltry music catalog “of more than 400,000 songs,” priced at 99 cents each. These came from all five major music companies and more than 200 independent labels.
Apple also celebrated selling more than $1 million worth of iTunes online gift certificates and top-up allowances since introducing them a couple of months earlier in October.
What was your first iTunes song download? Leave your comments below.
* At the risk of being persnickety, Apple’s press release claims that the “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” download was a version by Frank Sinatra. While Sinatra did record a May 1950 version of the song, which appeared on the 2002 Christmas With the Rat Pack album, the far more famous version was sung by Sinatra friend and stablemate Dean Martin. Not sure if Apple made a mistake here!