The iTunes Store launched on April 28, 2003, as an industry-supported alternative to combatting online music piracy, starting a revolution for companies and customers alike. Their first customers received a free download of The Fray’s “Over My Head (Cable Car)” to commemorate the store’s launch. Little did The Fray or iTunes know that it would result in over 300,000 downloads and contribute to the band’s success.
In 2010, iTunes gained the Beatles’ digital catalog after years of lawsuits between Apple and the Fab Four’s Apple Corps., which worried about the tech giant’s growing interest in music. The victory was a personal coup for Steve Jobs, who was known to be a Beatles fan and, according to some reports, named Apple as an homage to their record label. Though some critics wondered about the digital demand, the freshly available albums dominated the iTunes charts, helping the group connect with a new generation of listeners.
Lesser-known acts, too, have benefited from their association with Apple, which became not only a music retailer but a tastemaker thanks to its colorful iTunes ads. The eclectic spots, once characterized by dancing silhouettes, bold colors and Apple’s distinctive earbuds, have included groups ranging from the Gorillaz and N.E.R.D to the Ceasars, Wolfmother and the Fratellis. Among the bands and songs the company has helped hit the charts: U.K. duo Ting Tings, who contributed sassy breakthrough “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and even Coldplay, whose Apple-tapped “Vida La Vida” became the group’s first No. 1.
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The Ting Tings
Mary J. Blige