February 25, 2010, 11:30 AM — The iTunes Store reached a historical milestone on Wednesday when the ten billionth song (you read it correctly--that's ten followed by nine zeroes) was downloaded by an as-of-yet unnamed--but soon to be very lucky--person.
This goal has been on Apple's radar for some time--earlier this month, the company announced a contest to reward the downloader of the ten billionth song with an iTunes gift card worth $10,000 that can also be used for App Store purchases.
The iTunes Store, like its app-peddling cousin, continues to experience growth at a breakneck pace: the number of song downloads has doubled from five billion in a little more than 18 months. Meanwhile, the latest App Store numbers, from last September, peg app downloads at more than two billion.
Download figures for TV shows and movies lag significantly behind; tellingly the company has not released numbers for either since topping 200 million TV episode downloads in October 2008. However, recent reports suggest that the fine folks from Cupertino are in talks with several content providers to slash the cost of standard-definition shows to $1 from the current $2 price point, with the hopes of bolstering sales to music-like levels.
To celebrate its achievement--presumably while they try to figure out who actually downloaded the winning song--Apple has published a list of the twenty most-downloaded songs of all time. Both Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga feature prominently in the list, meaning that every person over 25 who happens upon it is likely to wonder what happened to their youth.