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iTunes Approaching 10 Billion Song Downloads...

The iTunes Store is now approaching 10 billion song downloads, and the fanfare starts immediately. The streamers are already adorning the 'Countdown to 10 Billion Songs' celebration, and Apple is awarding a $10,000 iTunes gift certificate to the fan who hits the magic number. That is certainly a monster gift certificate, appropriate for the threshold on hand.

Also, Apple has revealed the best-selling songs of all-time on the iTunes Store.

1. Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"
2. Lady GaGa, "Poker Face"
3. Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow"
4. Jason Mraz, "I'm Yours"
5. Coldplay, "Viva la Vida"
6. Lady Gaga & Colby O'Donis, "Just Dance"
7. Flo Rida, "Low feat. T-Pain"
8. Taylor Swift, "Love Story"
9. Leona Lewis, "Bleeding Love"
10. Ke$ha, "Tik Tok"

The Store first opened in 2003, though most of the tracks are recent pop releases. That indicates a continued ramp-up in volume, and the numbers support that theory. In January of 2009, Apple revealed a cumulative download total of 6 billion, at the time part of a multi-year plateau. But the leap to 10 billion is double the previous annual rate, raising an interesting question of just where download sales are heading.

Earlier this week, Warner Music Group revealed slowing, year-over-year download sales, and Warner chief Edgar Bronfman noted that the introduction of variable pricing was totally ill-timed. But the current jump offers evidence in the other direction, and could suggest aggressive growth outside of North America.

Just recently, US-based Nielsen Soundscan pointed to 2009 download growth of 8.3 percent to 1.159 billion a-la-carte downloads, and album sales growth of 16.1 percent to 76.4 million. In the aggregate - after multiplying albums by ten tracks - the broader gain is roughly 11.3 percent to 1.923 billion songs in the US.
- Digital Music News

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