On April 28, 2003, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store. A decade later, iTunes has become by most metrics the most popular music store in the world, with over 25 billion individual songs sold. Of course, calling iTunes a “Music Store” sounds a bit old-fashioned, since iTunes helped to end the whole idea of an actual, physical music store. (RIP, Tower Records.)
And although iTunes’ spectacular rise to power in the last ten years is nothing short of astonishing, Apple’s music vendor is beginning to show its age. Ten years ago, the idea of “owning” digital files seemed like a new-fangled idea in the CD era; today, subscription services (like Spotify and that thing your friend says is way better than Spotify) have become more popular, as the very idea of “owning” music has become passé.
Still, it makes sense that iTunes is turning 10 at a moment of significant industry change. The iTunes Decade has been marked by rapid evolution and rampant shifts in consumer behavior. A decade ago today, iTunes was the hotshot newcomer overturning the establishment; now, it’s the establishment. Happy Birthday, iTunes!
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