Making the Walkman and portable CD player truly things of the past, Apple rolled out its first mp3 player, known as the iPod, ten years ago today. The following year, Apple opened the iTunes digital music store; at the time, it held 200,000 songs. The compatibility between iTunes and the iPod quickly became apparent, and sales of iPods quadrupled in 2004 to more than 4 million units.
The iPod became a pop-culture phenomenon; the ad campaign featuring black silhouettes dancing against neon colors with bright white ear buds was to be emulated in cities across the U.S.
Today, the iTunes store is the single biggest music retailer in the world, with more than 20 million tracks available and 16 billion songs downloaded since its launch. The iPod dominates the digital music player market, with nearly 80% of the market and $300 million in sales since 2001.
“Even artists who were longtime holdouts, like the Beatles, are now part of the (Apple) ecosystem,” technology analyst Michael Gartenberg said in The Vancouver Sun. “They realized this is where consumers are listening to their music and, more importantly, buying their music.”