10,000,000,000th Song! Apple iTunes Hits Milestone

110 itunes.png

The song: "Guess Things Happen That Way" by Johnny Cash. The buyer: Louie Sulcer, 71, of Woodstock, Georgia. The price: $0.99, of course.


Apple iTunes is celebrating its 10 billionth song download since it was introduced in 2003. Meanwhile in the music industry, this happened:

chart_music.top.gif

It's interesting that the success of iTunes seems to slightly the buck the trend in bundling you see in the rest of our information-hungry, and supposedly information-cheap, world. On television, we pay for cable, which means we pay for access to a menu of channels, which in turn provide access a range of content. In the home movie industry, Netflix charges a flat fee for nearly limitless access to shipped or streamed movies. On the Web, the world is at our finger tips for the price of monthly access fee. In other words, we're largely living in a world where we pay for access -- and we pay a lot, as Nick Carr reminds -- rather than content.

But iTunes isn't selling access. It's selling content, song by song. It changed the game by letting us buy individual recordings instead of albums, which dovetailed beautifully with the rise of playlists, the modern cousin of the mix tape. I wish it a hearty congratulations, even as I suspect that the content-over-access model might not be long for this world.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Business

Just In