On the heels of
news that its recently relaunched Napster 2.0 commercial music download service sold 300,000 songs during its first full week of operation, Apple offered up news of its own: The
iTunes Music Store
sold 1.5 million songs during the same period, five times more than Napster. What’s more, Apple also said that market research firm Nielsen SoundScan registers the iTunes Music Store as having more than 80 percent of the legal download market last week.
Apple’s news comes only a few weeks after the company launched the Windows version of its iTunes software, which provides access to the iTunes Music Store — a service with access to more than 400,000 commercially available songs. iTunes Music Store launched in April, initially for Mac OS X only.
“The unbeatable combination of iPod and iTunes offers music lovers a seamless experience for buying, managing and listening to their digital music collections anywhere,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement.
The iPod is sold by Apple through its online store and its nationwide retail store chain; it’s also a popular item at leading electronics retailers and department stores. It’s available in both Mac- and Windows-specific configurations.
The iTunes Music Store’s “second generation” was introduced at the same time as iTunes for Windows, on October 16. New features of the iTunes Music Store — available to Mac and Windows users alike — including “Allowances” and “Gift Certificates” to let parents or friends and loved ones deposit funds for their kids and others to spend as they choose. Other features include more than 5,000 audiobooks, celebrity playlists, and more.
Napster is considered one of Apple’s chief rivals in the battle for the hearts and minds of legal PC music downloaders. Once synonymous with illegal music sharing, Napster was relaunched by Roxio as a legitimate commercial online music service. Roxio and electronics manufacturer Samsung have also teamed up to produce a Napster-branded digital music player with features comparable to Apple’s own iPod. PC manufacturer Dell has introduced the DJ, another iPod competitor, and its own Dell Digital Music Store, a rebranded version of MusicMatch’s Jukebox software.