With the emergence of Apple’s iPod becoming one of the most prevalent devices in popular culture today, the online iTunes store has also become a dominating marketplace for music lovers worldwide.
In 2003, Apple introduced its iTunes store. The initial website was plain and uncomplicated compared to the online store today. The early store offered only 200,000 tracks and was only available to users who owned a Mac computer. PC users were not given access to the site until nearly four months later. (Harris, 2010)
However, Apple’s plan was far from half-baked. When the initial site was launched, Apple had already been in contact with multiple high-scale record labels. These labels included Universal Music Group, Warner, and Sony. (Harris, 2010) This would increase user demand for iTunes music as well as provide outstanding marketing and publicity for Apple.
The site has grown over the past seven years, and only shows more potential in the future. Throughout its existence, the iTunes store has expanded to provide more than just billions of tracks, but movies, television shows, games, class lectures, and much more. The assortment of devices for playing such media have expanded as well, such as the iPod, iPod Nano, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, iPad, and more.
What’s most convenient to users, however, is the incomprehensible variety of music as well as interactions amongst other viewers regarding music content. As an iTunes user, what I enjoy most is being able to hear short previews (30 second clips) of song tracks prior to purchasing. Also, rather than simply purchasing an entire album, I have built a diverse collection of music by purchasing only songs I would like to have one-by-one. Other users who have purchased or listened to albums are able to post their comments and criticisms about a particular album as well as rate the music. While the ratings are typically subjective, they can be useful when searching for a variety of genres.
The iTunes store differs from more traditional social media such as Facebook and Twitter in that the content is not necessarily designed to be interpersonal. Rather, the focus is on the content itself. And users can communicate and rate music in order to give their own perspectives on the content.
But the site does offer plenty of interpersonal activities if a user wishes to participate. For example, users have the option of sharing their music collections with other users, similar to other music sites. Also, users can comment and rate music, movies, etc. and express their thoughts and opinions for others to utilize as well. And even schools are using iTunes in order to make things like class lectures and public speeches available to populations.
The iTunes site shows no signs of slowing. It has quickly become the largest digital music sales site in the United States. Over 700 million songs were sold in the first year, and billions have been sold over the years—a stark contrast from the initial 200,000 tracks available beginning in 2003. In 2006, iTunes gained nearly 88% of the legal music download market share in the United States. In 2007, it became the most popular movie download site in the world. Over 2 million movies have been sold. The store recently passed the 10 billion download milestone in February 2010.
In conclusion, iTunes is the biggest digital music sales media for a reason. Due to exceptional business planning, support, customer base, and a variety of available features, it has dominated the better part of the past century for good reason. The iTunes store only continues to grow, and more and more people are utilizing the store than ever before. It’s become a lucrative business based upon a common interest of billions—music. Apple’s great customer service and relations make it even more likely to continue its success for a long time.
Harris, M. (2010). iTunes Store History-The History of the iTunes Store. Retrieved from: