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Apple iTunes sells half a billion songs

Next 500m sold by end of year?

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Apple's iTunes Music Store has sold more than 500m songs, the iPod maker's web site revealed this morning.

The half-billion target was actually exceeded yesterday, 17 July, we can reveal.

Our modelling had anticipated the 500m mark to be passed late June or early July, but the growth rate isn't so far off the forecast, and the company is still on track to sell its billionth song in December, probably towards the end of the month.

If growth continues at its current rate, Apple with sell song number two billion next in ten months' time: May 2006.

Muddying the water slightly is Apple's own attempts to drive sales past the 500m mark, which included a monster giveaway to the buyer of download number 500m. Prizes included ten iPods, an 10,000-song iTunes gift card and an all-expenses paid trip for four to see Coldplay live. Apple also said it would hand over an iPod Mini and a 50-song bundle every 100,000 songs.

The promo was launched on 5 July, 12 days before the target was met.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal claims Apple is in talks with the major labels and independents for the rights to sell music videos through iTunes. The paper cites sources who point to a September debut and pricing set to be $1.99 a go.

That inevitably suggests a video iPod, and indeed there have been rumours that Apple is looking to compete with Sony's PSP in this regard. ®

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