Nearly a decade after Apple Inc. launched its iTunes music store, the company surpassed 25 billion songs sold.
The online store, which has expanded its offerings in recent years to include digital books, games, applications, magazines, movies and TV shows, continues to be a dominant distribution channel for music, accounting for 69% of digital music sales in the U.S. last year, according to estimates from the NPD Group. For all retail sales, including physical formats such as CDs and vinyl, iTunes has a 29% share, outselling retail giants such as Walmart and Target.
For Apple, iTunes has become a significant source of revenue. The iTunes business, which also includes sales of Apple Care warranty and other services, generated just under $3.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ended Dec. 29, up 22% from the same period a year earlier. Those figures represent just Apple’s 30% cut of sales, not the larger gross sales that flow through the online store.