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Thursday, December 16, 2004, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

iTunes Music Store downloads top 200 million songs

Well on its way to serving up a quarter-billion iTunes tracks by next Spring, Apple claims to have sold over 200 million tunes to date.

Apple today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 200 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. The 200 millionth song was part of "The Complete U2" and was purchased by Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, MA.

iTunes has made it easy to give the gift of music this holiday season with iTunes prepaid cards that are available from retailers like Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Kroger, RadioShack, 7-Eleven, Target, as well as Apple's online store and Apple’s retail stores and offer $15 or $25 of music on the iTunes Music Store. Gift givers can also send iTunes gift certificates in amounts from $10 to $200 by email or regular mail, and can print out these gift certificates in color right on their computer for the perfect last minute stocking stuffer.

"iTunes has now sold over 200 million songs, making it the world’s number one online music store by far," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "We’re thrilled to be making music an even more popular gift this holiday season with iTunes and iPod."

The iTunes Music Store features a holiday genre page with thousands of holiday favorites, including classics such as Ella Fitzgerald’s "Sleigh Ride" and contemporary favorites like Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas." The iTunes Music Store has also added Holiday Playlists to its collection of Celebrity Playlists, and users can view holiday playlists hand-picked by celebrities and with one click, own all of their recommendations.