February 22, 2006

iTunes to Hit 1 Billion Song Mark Tonight

Apple is on quite a roll with their iPod/iTunes music combo, which has propelled the once "beleaguered" computer company to the forefront of the technology leadership curve. In fact, at one point last month, only a few years removed from Michael Dell's catty comment that he would close Apple and divide up the take among the shareholders, Apple's (AAPL) market capitalization eclipsed that of Dell (DELL) itself. Though the stock has gone down a bit since then, the company's momentum has not.

Now, three years into the iTunes Music Store launch, Apple is on the verge of selling its one billionth song. The company announced a plethora of gifts to loyal music store customers, offering a free iPod Nano and gift card for each song sold at a multiple of 100,000 and is ramping up for the big prize -- whoever purchases the 1 billionth song will receive a new 20-inch iMac, 10 60 Gigabyte iPods, and a whopping $10,000 to spend at the iTunes Music Store for any media. I can't even think how I could spend $2,000, but I'm sure I'd find a way, given the challenge.

According to my iTunes library, my "purchased" collection from the iTunes Music Store numbers just under 1,000, at 982, since my first song purchase on April 28, 2003. I purchased 25 songs that day, ranging from R.E.M. and U2 to Traci Lords and DJ Encore. The iTunes Music Store has grown up in a big way since, offering a much greater set of music to choose from. The company's consistent pricing also throws a wrench into any of the retail stores who might otherwise get my money, and I've practically eliminated my spending on Amazon.com since the iTunes Music Store's introduction.

In the next hour, Apple will most likely hit 1 billion, and I'll try to win the big prize. If I do win, you'll be sure to know.

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