Here’s Why Apple is Thrilled About iTunes

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) ecosystem, touted as one of the company’s biggest strengths, keeps growing bigger. On Wednesday, the company announced a new record for its iTunes Store, with the music and media program surpassing the 25-billion mark in song purchases. Apple introduced the store in April 2003.

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“We are grateful to our users whose passion for music over the past 10 years has made iTunes the number one music retailer in the world,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said in a press release. “Averaging over 15,000 songs downloaded per minute, the iTunes Store connects music fans with their favorite artists, including global sensations like Adele and Coldplay and new artists like The Lumineers, on a scale we never imagined possible.”

The store — available on Macs, PCs, iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch players, now has a catalog of more than 26 million songs and is available in 119 countries. In addition, the company’s App Store has about 775,000 apps and has seen more than 40 billion downloads since it first opened.

Robert W. Baird analyst William Power said recently that while he was concerned about the company’s stock and estimates dynamics over the near to medium term, he remained positive on “Apple’s unmatched ecosystem, product portfolio, the likelihood for future innovation, and its balance sheet and cash generation.”

The company announced at the end of December that its iTunes Store had launched in 56 new markets, bringing the total to 119.

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Apple is also said to be preparing to launch an Internet radio in the style of Pandora (NYSE:P) sometime this year. According to one report, this new feature will allow users with iTunes accounts to “buy tracks as music streams or revisit what they’ve heard in auto-generated playlists.”

The customer who purchased the 25-billionth song will receive an iTunes gift card worth 10,000 euros, or $13,500.

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