The new ad-supported music service from Apple, which pioneered and now dominates music purchases through iTunes, is expected to be free to users.

London - Apple was hailed for pioneering a “listening revolution” as it celebrated a decade of iTunes this week.

The music store, which started out more than a decade ago with 200 000 songs, reached its 25 billionth download earlier this year.

Since its launch on April 28, 2003, iTunes has accrued a catalogue of more than 35 million songs and has about 435 million active account-holders across the world.

On average, more than 15 000 songs a minute are downloaded and, according to the technology website Pocket-lint, it would take more than 140 000 years to listen to every single music download available through the famous store.

Gennaro Castaldo, of HMV, the British music retail chain, said the music store – along with the iPod – had “undoubtedly” played a major part in changing the way consumers discovered and listened to music.

“Between them, they’ve helped to reshape the music landscape, creating a commercially viable model for digital technology in much the same way the gramophone did for recordings about 100 years ago.

“The challenge for Apple now is that digital consumers appear to be moving away from owned downloads to streaming, and there are a growing number of competitors all looking to challenge its market dominance.

“Demand for physical product also remains surprisingly resilient and there’s even been a mini resurgence for formats like vinyl as some fans look for a more authentic music experience.”

Cameron Farrelly, a music specialist at the advertising agency pd3, said: “Over the past 10 years iTunes has drastically changed the way we share, purchase and consume music.

“It has given us unrestricted and portable access to music’s extensive back catalogue and taught the masses the art of a perfect playlist. iTunes has pioneered a listening revolution.”

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president for internet software and services, said the company took “great pride” in exposing music fans to new and emerging artists.

He said: “When Apple introduced the iTunes Store on April 28, 2003, we thought if consumers had a great, legal way to download music they would embrace it – did they ever.

“Apple was floored, as were the labels, when customers bought more than one million songs in the first week. Now, 10 years later, we continue to be amazed by how much customers love the iTunes Store, with more than 25 billion songs sold.”

The iTunes Store is available in 119 countries.

Besides its vast collection of music tracks, it holds more than 190 000 episodes of television programmes and more than 45 000 films.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the UK’s music industry body BPI, said: “iTunes was the application that persuaded music fans to pay for music in the digital environment.

“Its simplicity and its integration with the iPod, and the ease with which you can manage your music library, was critical in giving consumers confidence in digital music.

“I think we can credit iTunes with the resurgence of the singles market, which was in the doldrums in the early 2000s but has now hit a record high.

“Apple deserves a lot of credit for bringing vitality into the digital music market.”

Data from the first Digital Music Index (DMI), published in September by Musicmetric, the trend analysis company in London and Los Angeles, showed that where retailers like iTunes and legal music streaming services like Spotify were available, piracy was reduced.

Gregory Mead, chief executive of Semetric, which owns Musicmetric, said: “iTunes changed the game not just for music, but for retailing films, books and apps.” – Daily Mail


BEST SELLERS: 2003 – 2007


1. Hey ya! – Outkast

2. Fallen – Sarah McLachlan

3. It’s My Life – No Doubt


1. Vertigo – U2

2. This Love – Maroon 5

3. The Reason – Hoobastank


1. Gold Digger – Kanye West feat Jamie Foxx

2. Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani

3. Beverly Hills – Weezer


1. Bad Day – Daniel Powter

2. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley

3. SexyBack – Justin Timberlake


1. The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani

2. Crank That – Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em

3. Hey There – Delilah Plain White T’s


BEST SELLERS: 2008 – 2012


1. Viva La Vida – Coldplay

2. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis

3. Disturbia – Rihanna


1. I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas

2. Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas

3. Poker Face – Lady Gaga


1. Love The Way You Lie – Eminem / Rihanna

2. California Gurls – Katy Perry Snoop Dogg

3. Hey, Soul Sister – Train


1. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO

2. Rolling in the Deep – Adele

3. Give Me Everything – Pitbull


1. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

2. We Are Young – Fun

3. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye