CNET incorrectly reports Apple missed iTunes 100 million song goal

“Apple Computer said Monday that it has sold 50 million songs from its iTunes Music Store — far below its goal, which was to sell 100 million songs by April,” Ina Fried writes for CNET in the article entitled, ‘Apple falls far short of iTunes goal.’ “Apple says the 50 million figure excludes the number of unspecified songs downloaded through a Pepsi giveaway, which itself was designed to account for 100 million songs.”

“Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced the goal of 100 million songs in October, when the company expanded the iTunes Music Store to work with Windows-based computers. Apple reiterated the goal in December when it announced that it had sold 25 million songs up to that point,” Fried writes.

“Although Apple did not reach the goal it set for itself in October, it did note that iTunes users are now downloading 2.5 million songs per week, which means the company is now selling songs at a rate of 130 million songs per year,” Fried writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This would all be very interesting, if it were true. However, unlike CNET, we are forced to let the facts get in the way. Fact number one is that until April 28, 2004, the one year anniversary of iTunes and the date Steve Jobs’ set for the 100 million song goal, Apple has not failed to hit its target. Fact number two, and this is the big one, is that Jobs plans to count the Pepsi redemptions toward the 100 million songs sold – after all they are actually songs sold. The songs redeemed are paid for by Pepsi.

Steve Jobs specifically stated, in explaining how Apple would hit the 100 million songs sold mark, “What are we going to do [to sell 100 million songs in a year]? We’re going to give away a hundred million songs. You heard me right. We are so proud to be partnering with Pepsi on this… So, a hundred million songs by April 28, 2004 – this is our goal – we’re going to Windows [with an iTunes version], partner with AOL, …and we’re going to give away 100 million songs with Pepsi… So, we think we’ve got a really good shot at selling 100 million legal downloads the first year.” See it for yourself during Jobs’ presentation from the Moscone Center in San Francisco during Apple’s “iTunes for Windows Introduction” on October 16, 2003 here. Jobs’ remarks on this 100 million song goal begin at 43:30 into the presentation.

Clearly, Jobs intends to count the Pepsi redemptions. These redemptions are not included in today’s announcement of over 50 million songs sold. And it is not yet April 28, 2004. Fried is wrong to pretend that Apple has not hit its goal. No one can know until April 28, 2004 and all of the songs sold are counted.

Related MacDailyNews article:
Apple’s iTunes Music Store milestone: over 50 million songs sold – March 15, 2004
Steve Jobs says Apple to sell 70-75 million songs by end of April – March 16, 2004


  1. those f’ers always have a negative spin when it comes to apple. Not good journalism. You can bet they will re-hash this story on April 28th, and make big noise about a portion of the downloaded songs being ‘given away’. It’s so easy to predict their cheap attempts to belittle anything Apple does.

  2. MDN: You’re picking nits, but you are correct. CNET should have said “Apple will miss their target.”

    SInce Pepsi has botched the promotion, I don’t see how Apple could rack up 50 million bottlecap redemptions before the deadline. I’d be happy to be wrong, though.

  3. I was under the impression that it Apple wanted to be moving 100 million a year, and not 100 in a year. As in not selling 100 million the first year, but to be selling enough per week in a year to be able to say they can average over 100 million a year, which they are well over.

  4. Email each and every outlet carrying the FUD story with a link to this article and demand a retraction. I have done so to CNET and BBC. Doing more in a second. Do this! It will make a difference and also make MDN quite famous worldwide!

  5. Ina Fried, the author of the CNET article, has written many other similar hack jobs about Apple for CNET. As soon as you see the byline, you know what’s coming.

  6. Plush, I think you’re right. I think Apple DID want to be able to be at a 100 million song run rate per year.

    But they also set a goal for themselves to sell 100 million songs in their first year as well.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.