Understanding Our First Decade with iTunes
  • FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

  • Posted by: Stephen Cardone

It's pretty hard to imagine just how different the world was in 2003. There was no such thing as the iPhone, the iPod looked like this, newly founded Myspace.com dominated the internet, and Finding Nemo was a recent box office success. A lot can change over the course of a decade and upon further reflection, it's clear exactly how much we have moved forward since iTunes was first released 10 years ago. It came into existence during a strange time for the music industry. The CD was becoming obsolete and many people were stealing their songs online through a wide array of sneaky, yet easily accessible sources.

The answer to this internet-sales conundrum was provided by Steve Jobs, who somehow figured out how to harness this new power into something decidedly more innovative. When it first hit the market, Steve apparently had a hard time convincing record company execs that people would want to pay a dollar for a single song. Since then, iTunes has grown into a multimedia empire that not only sells music, but movies, TV shows, podcasts, books, magazines, newspapers, and apps. As a format, digital media has grown into the primary source for accessing our favorite songs, podcasts, movies and shows with iTunes at the forefront.

Streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify have moved things forward into the next sphere by continuing the trend of eliminating physical copies. In fact, now we don't even need to own private copies to enjoy our favorite media. These databases purchase the rights to their extensive libraries and we subscribe to them to access the content. Pandora, RDIO and Spotify have arguably changed the way we listen to music, not only the way in which we receive it. Music and other media are now becoming something we share with each other in a completely new way. No longer are we relegated to passing along mixtures of songs we found on the radio. Facebook and Twitter are now becoming nodes in which we can broadcast what we are listening to and watching. The new 'Popular on Facebook' tab of Netflix is further evidence of this change.

In so many ways, we couldn't do what we do here at Baeble today without iTunes. Sharing these full-length concerts online just couldn't happen before it was introduced. Recently, Justin Timberlake showed us just how much digital sales are overtaking physical copies when he moved roughly 480,000 digital copies in his first week , roughly 47 percent of all sales for The 20/20 Experience. On the store right now, iTunes is celebrating 10 years with a timeline of their many milestones. While a look at the best selling songs of all time on iTunes may inspire more disappointment than anything else, it still proves how instrumental the service has been in re-popularizing the actual purchase of music.

Take a walk down memory lane.

Year by year breakdown of best selling songs on iTunes:

2003: "Hey Ya" by Outkast

2004: "Vertigo" by U2

2005: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West

2006: "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

2007: "The Sweet Escape" ft. Akon by Gwen Stefani

2008: "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay

2009: "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas

2010: "Love the Way You Lie" ft. Rihanna by Eminem

2011: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO

2012: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepson
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