happy birthday itunes music.pngOn this day five years ago, the Apple iTunes Music Store launched. The date was April 28, 2003, and ever since the launch, the store has managed to become more successful than I think anyone ever imagined. By early this year in 2008, over 4 billion songs have been sold through the store.

Taking a look back to 2003, it’s interesting to note that when the iTunes music store first launched, it was for Mac users only. It took several months for them to expand further and launch the iTunes Music store for Windows users in October, 2003. Had they not expanded and offered the store for Windows users, it would have taken them much, much longer before they would have been able to reach the 4 billion songs milestone that we mentioned earlier. They’ve got Windows users to thank for much of their success.

We decided to go back and find the original Press Release from Apple to checkout some of the original stats. At the time of launch, here’s what the iTunes Music Store was able to offer and some of the requirements:

  • 200,000 songs
  • exclusive tracks from over 20 artists
  • iTunes 4 was required
  • Users had to have Mac OS X version 10.1.5 or later

Now the iTunes Music Store has over 10 million songs! To go from 200,000 songs to 10 million songs in five years is pretty impressive and shows the growth that iTunes has experienced. Another interesting article we came across was from News.com when they were writing in October of 2003 about how the iTunes Music Store for Windows was coming. They mentioned how much revenue would be generated from the store and predicted that Apple could claim 20 percent of the market share. Then they went on to say, “Still, even those optimistic about the market don’t see Apple getting a major boost to the bottom line.”

Certainly Apple doesn’t make much money per song, but iTunes has exploded into popularity and has likely influenced more people to buy iPods which does boost Apple’s bottom line. Notice they also said that Apple could claim about 20 percent of the online market share? Well, they’ve now managed to secure their place as the number one largest music retailer in the United States. This includes online sales and those from brick and mortar stores, which is pretty impressive.

Happy Birthday iTunes Music Store, and here’s to another five great years!