Published April 29, 2013
First launched in 1998 at the Macworld expo in San Francisco, and originally an Apple-only software, the music service has come a long way in its decade of existence. It was made available for Windows users in 2003, much to the displeasure of its then CEO, Steve Jobs.
“It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell,” he told The Wall Street Journal during its D Conference in 2007.
Since that time iTunes has sold more than 35 million songs in 119 countries, movies in 109 countries and 850,000 iOS apps in 155 countries.
In 2011 Apple finally got the rights to sell all of The Beatles albums, as well as AC/DC.
But has iTunes helped or harmed the music industry over the last 10 years?
CNNMoney’s Adrian Covert believes that while iTunes was a “Godsend” in many ways for digital music fans, “it has been a source of endless frustration for the music industry.” Music sales have plummeted in the U.S. from $11.8 billion in 2003 to $7.1 billion last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Covert believes revenue has more than halved, when adjusted for inflation.
Ironically, though, at exactly the same time that music sales have dived, people have been buying more music than ever before, thanks to Apple’s introduction of the 99 cent single.
Covert said the music industry has Jobs to thank for devaluing the price of music, by offering whole albums for $10, and singles for 99 cents.
However, not everyone shares Covert’s views.
Mac Daily News has reported that Covert offers no proof that iTunes is the cause of the slump rather than rampant illegal downloading.
“Covert offers no proof that the iTunes Store did anything but create a legal alternative to theft,” Mac Daily News reports. “People pay for music at the iTunes Store, dummy. Without iTunes Store, there would be no music industry as we know it left today.”
Mac Daily argued that “music cartels can no longer hold good music hostage” by putting together an album of 12 “tracks o’crap” for $15 with a “10-cent box and a 15-cent booklet.”
“Apple gave music buyers the power and took it away from the forced bundlers,” the site said.