In its first year of trading, Apple has revealed that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 50 million songs from its European iTunes music stores.
The iTunes Music Store has extended its reach to more than 70pc of the global music market with stores in 19 countries, including the US and Canada, and more than 430 million songs purchased and downloaded worldwide.
The stores were launched in the UK, France and Germany in June 2004, and now operate in 17 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
However, while the store launched in the UK, France and Germany in June and hit the rest of Europe by October, Ireland didn’t get the service until January due to wrangling between Apple and the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO). This was despite the fact that Ireland is home to most of Apple’s European operations and the fact that Apple and Irish rock band U2 had entered into a ground-breaking co-branding deal.
The European iTunes Music Stores have catalogues of over one million songs each, and feature content from all major music companies and over 1,000 independent record labels.
“We’re thrilled to have sold and delivered over 50 million songs in our first year,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice-president of applications. “We’d like to thank European music fans for making iTunes such a success.”
By John Kennedy