Apple today celebrates the first anniversary of its iTunesMusic Store. Launched one year ago today, the iTunes Music Store has revolutionized the music industry with its 99 cents-per-song pricing, free previews, one-click purchasing and downloading, and groundbreaking personal use rights. In its first year, music fans have purchased more than 70 million songs, making it the number one online music service in the world with more than 70 percent market share of legal downloads for singles and albums. iTunes customers are currently purchasing 2.7 million songs per week, a rate of 140 million songs per year.
“iTunes has exceeded our wildest expectations during its first year, charting a new direction for the music industry,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “The unbeatable combination of iTunes and the market-leading iPod offers music fans a seamless experience for discovering, buying, managing and enjoying their music anywhere.”
To kick off its second year, Apple today launched the third generation iTunes Music Store, featuring the industry’s largest online music catalog of over 700,000 songs from all five major music companies and over 450 independent music labels, as well as groundbreaking new features including:
– “iMix,” a new way for users to publish playlists of their favorite songs on the iTunes Music Store for other users to preview, rate and purchase. iMix creates a virtual iTunes community, enabling users to discover new music recommended by fellow music fans and rate the iMixes published by other iTunes users
– “Party Shuffle,” a new playlist that automatically chooses songs from a user’s music library, displays just-played and upcoming songs, and allows users to easily add, delete and rearrange the upcoming songs on the fly. Party Shuffle is the ultimate DJ at any gathering, and a great way for users to get reacquainted with their personal music library.
– Radio Charts from more than 1,000 radio stations, enabling users to easily find and buy the top songs played on local radio stations in major US markets and buy directly from the charts with just one click.
– A new Music Video section featuring more music videos than ever, and a new Movie Trailer section with the most popular movie trailers on the Internet and links to buy songs from the soundtrack or audiobooks related to the movie.
– The rights to play songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store, including songs previously purchased, on up to five personal computers, two more than before.
– The ability to create and print stunning CD jewel case inserts for albums or compilation discs, combining album art and track lists using professionally designed templates. For compilation CDs, iTunes will automatically generate a mosaic of album covers based on the chosen songs.
– Automatic WMA to AAC conversion, enabling Windows users to automatically create iTunes versions of their songs encoded in unprotected WMA. Converting an entire music library into iTunes and syncing it onto iPod is now a snap.
Honoring Apple’s commitment to discourage music theft while preserving fair personal use rights, the number of times a user can burn the same playlist onto CDs with iTunes is being reduced from ten burns to seven. Users can still burn a single song an unlimited number of times and listen to their music on an unlimited number of iPods.
Apple is marking the first anniversary of its iTunes Music Store by thanking its customers with a free song of the day for the next eight days from artists who have helped make iTunes a runaway success, including Foo Fighters, Avril Lavigne, Courtney Love, Annie Lennox, Jane’s Addiction, Counting Crows, Renee Fleming and Nelly Furtado. Following the anniversary celebration, the iTunes Music Store will continue to offer a “Free Single of the Week” from up-and-coming bands, spotlighting emerging artists and offering iTunes customers a risk-free way to discover new music.
The iTunes Music Store continues to lead the industry with exclusive tracks from more than 150 artists, and starting today, offers dozens of out-of-print recordings from Motown Records, including the first 45 singles and 45 hard-to-find albums from the Motown archive — available digitally for the first time. The iTunes Music Store features the exclusive digital music catalog of Walt Disney Records, including soundtracks from Disney’s classic animated films and Disney/Pixar’s computer-animated films. New exclusives available today include the new Beastie Boys single, “Ch-Check it Out” from the group’s first studio release in five years and the exclusive digital release of The Foo Fighters catalog.
iTunes 4.5 for Mac and Windows includes the iTunes Music Store and is available as a free download immediately from http://www.apple.com/itunes Purchase and download of songs from the iTunes Music Store for Mac or Windows requires a valid credit card with a U.S. billing address. Further information about Apple’s digital music products can be found at http://www.apple.com/ipod and http://www.apple.com/itunes.