iTunes Music Store Turns 20 Today: 'Just 99 Cents Per Song'

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Apple launching the iTunes Music Store, allowing Mac users to download music for "just 99 cents per song."

iTunes Music Store 2003
At launch, the iTunes Music Store offered over 200,000 songs from music labels such as Sony, Universal, and Warner, with free 30-second previews of any song. The store provided convenient access to songs on an à-la-carte basis at a time when pirating music was rampant via peer-to-peer file sharing programs such as LimeWire and KaZaA.

"The iTunes Music Store offers the revolutionary rights to burn an unlimited number of CDs for personal use and to put music on an unlimited number of iPods for on-the-go listening," said Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs, in an April 28, 2003 press release. "Consumers don't want to be treated like criminals and artists don't want their valuable work stolen. The iTunes Music Store offers a groundbreaking solution for both."

Apple expanded iTunes and the online music store to Windows in October 2003. At the time, Apple said customers had purchased more than 13 million songs from the iTunes Music Store, making it the "number one download music service in the world."

Apple has gradually phased out the iTunes brand over the past few years, and the music store is now located in the Music app on the Mac. iTunes has also been overshadowed by Apple Music and other streaming music services, with many customers now opting to pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to up to 100 million songs.

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Top Rated Comments

Ankit1088 Avatar
15 months ago
Nostalgia! Sometimes I miss how iTunes used to look on OSX.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
15 months ago
When I tell people that I still buy my music, I get laughed at.
Obviously it's everyone's choice, but my rationale - that I would have to buy as much music as the cost of a streaming service to justify Apple Music, which would be about 10 tracks a month - makes sense unless you're willing to treat music as one customisable radio station that you don't own.
Most of my music has come from 0.99 purchases (about 2 or 3 a month from what I've Shazammed) and CDs.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
infiniteentropy Avatar
15 months ago
I really enjoyed the "Aqua" look back then. Everything seems to be flat with rounded rectangles these days. Aka boring.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
15 months ago
Voting time! Which one is your favorite iTunes Logo? ?



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Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
15 months ago
I miss the old iTunes and old iPod.



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Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwaltwhit Avatar
15 months ago

When I tell people that I still buy my music, I get laughed at.
Obviously it's everyone's choice, but my rationale - that I would have to buy as much music as the cost of a streaming service to justify Apple Music, which would be about 10 tracks a month - makes sense unless you're willing to treat music as one customisable radio station that you don't own.
Most of my music has come from 0.99 purchases (about 2 or 3 a month from what I've Shazammed) and CDs.
Yea but songs aren't 99¢ anymore. Also I am paying to have any song anywhere anytime on any device, too. I do own a considerable number of songs, but having access to the whole music catalog is reason enough for me. Another benefit for me is I have kids that listen to kid-centric music. I have no desire to own the Teen Titans Go soundtrack knowing that I won't need it for too much longer, but its nice to ask siri to play it in the car.

I definitely can't begrudge someone preferring to own, rather than rent music, but it serves me well.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)