May 9, 2005: Apple quietly begins selling music videos in the iTunes Music Store.
The feature arrives with iTunes 4.8, initially offering bonus content for people purchasing albums through the store. It will take several months for Apple to start selling individual music videos, along with Pixar short films and a selection of TV shows, for $1.99 a pop.
May 5, 2003: Just a week after launching the iTunes Music Store, Apple reaches an incredible milestone with more than 1 million songs sold.
Particularly notable is the fact that more than half the songs purchased are albums. This quickly dispels fears that selling tracks individually will kill the record industry’s dominant format. In addition, more than half of the 200,000 songs initially available on iTunes get downloaded at least once.
“In less than one week we’ve broken every record and become the largest online music company in the world,” says Steve Jobs in a statement. “Apple has created the first complete solution for the digital music age — you can purchase your favorite music online at the iTunes Music Store, mix your favorite tracks into playlists with iTunes, and take your entire music collection with you everywhere with the super-slim new iPods.”
It’s a roaring success for Apple’s newest venture!
February 12, 2012: Months after his untimely death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is honored with a Special Merit Grammy Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, collects the Grammy on behalf of Jobs’ family and “everyone at Apple.”
While iTunes sales numbers can’t yet match the selling power of established retail giants like Walmart, Best Buy and Circuit City (or fellow tech company Amazon), this milestone nonetheless represents big news for Apple — and digital music sales as a whole.
Purchased digital content has been around since before the launch of the iTunes Store back in 2003, but things were much different then. Devices weren’t constantly connected, and streaming wasn’t the primary way to access your “purchased” (or subscription) content, and most things came in the form of physical media (VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, or 8-Tracks). Now that things are streamed, stored in the cloud, and available across all our devices, digital content ownership is much more complicated than simply buying a movie, book, or album and having it indefinitely.
July 12, 2004: Apple boasts that the iTunes Music Store has sold its 100,000,000th song, and marks the occasion with a generous gift for the lucky downloader.
The song in question is Zero 7’s “Somersault (Dangermouse remix),” purchased by Kevin Britten from Hays, Kansas. The 20-year-old receives a personal phone call from Steve Jobs congratulating him. Britten also gets a 17-inch PowerBook, a 40GB iPod and a gift certificate for a massive 10,000 (!) iTunes songs.