Apple's iTunes hits 5 billion mark

That's how many songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Store. Oh, and movie sales and rentals are doing fine, too, the Mac maker says.

Jon Skillings Editorial director
A born browser of dictionaries and a lifelong New Englander, Jon Skillings is an editorial director at CNET. He honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing for tech publications -- including at PC Week and the IDG News Service -- back when the web was just getting under way, and even a little before. For CNET, he's written on topics from GPS to 5G, James Bond, lasers, brass instruments and music streaming services.
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Jon Skillings

The path to world domination is paved in round numbers, especially big ones like this: 5 billion.

iTunes store
The face of the iTunes store. Apple

That's the number of songs that have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Store, Apple said Thursday. (Actually, for the record, the press release says "over 5 billion.")

That shouldn't be surprising, of course. Apple's iTunes store has long overshadowed the rest of the music download scene. Rivals have launched many an assault, but even e-commerce competitors as savvy as Amazon.com still face quite an uphill battle--sales of songs at 9-month-old AmazonMP3, the No. 2 digital music store, are only a tenth the volume of those at iTunes, according to market researcher NPD Group.

Apple is, in fact, the largest music retailer in the United States, period, having pushed past Wal-mart Stores earlier this year. And it seems to be making a healthy profit from its iTunes operations. No wonder many a politician is toying with the notion of taxing digital downloads.

The company also said on Tuesday that iTunes customers are toting up purchases and rentals of more than 50,000 movies per day.