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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 09:47 GMT
Apple store tops 25 million tunes
Apple iTunes' Steve Jobs at launch
Apple's iTunes dominates the online music market
Apple's online music store has hit a new high, selling more than 25 million songs since its launch in April.

The 25 millionth song purchased on Friday was Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Frank Sinatra.

The iTunes service offers songs for 99 cents (60 pence) each, which can be downloaded to Windows or Mac computers, as well as Apple's iPod music player.

Apple is the leading player in the nascent digital music but others are now starting to offer rival services.

Time of giving

"With over 25 million songs purchased and downloaded to date, the iTunes Music Store is hands-down the most successful online music store," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO in a statement.

"Music fans are buying and downloading almost 1.5 million songs per week from the iTunes Music Store, which is a rate of 75 million songs per year."

TOP DOWNLOADS TODAY
Apple iTunes homepage, BBC
Hey Ya! - OutKast
Milkshake - Kelis
It's My Life - No Doubt
The Way You Move - OutKast & Sleepy Brown
White Flag - Dido
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows & Vanessa Carlton
Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
As well as downloading individual tracks, consumers can also buy gift certificates worth between $20 and $200.

These have proved popular in the run-up to Christmas. Apple says it has sold more than $1 million worth of iTunes gift certificates since they became available in October.

The California-based company is aiming to be the number one legal music download service in the world, as the music industry tries to clamp down on the millions of songs shared without permission online.

At the moment, the iTunes store is only available in the US. International versions of the online store are expected to be launched next year.

But Apple is facing competition from others seeking to cash in on the demand for legitimate music downloads.

The song-swapping pioneer Napster recently returned to the scene as a paid-for service, and Microsoft has also announced plans for a digital music business.




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