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Apple celebrates 'A Decade of iTunes' with year-by-year milestones

Apple on Wednesday rolled out a new feature on its iTunes Store to celebrate "A Decade of iTunes," offering customers a history lesson of the company's now-dominant digital download destination.

The new addition to the iTunes Store includes an interactive timeline that allows visitors to see how iTunes — as well as popular music — has evolved over the last ten years. The feature kicks off by recalling April 28, 2003, when the iTunes Music Store launched with 200,000 songs, and the third-generation iPod was unveiled.

Back on its launch day, the top-selling song on iTunes was "Stuck in a Moment" by U2, while the most popular album was "Sea Change" by Beck. More than a million songs, priced at 99 cents apiece, were downloaded in the first week.

By clicking through on a year-by-year basis, customers can view the top selling iTunes album for each, and also view numerous individual milestones. These items are related to songs purchased, new countries where the iTunes Store launched, and major product launches such as new iPods.

The most recent milestone was hit on March 19, when the Justin Timberlake album "The 20/20 Experience" set a new worldwide record for album sales in its first week.

This Sunday will mark 10 years to the date that the iTunes Store opened. The company announced in its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday that the iTunes Store had a record quarter with $4 billion in revenues.

While it originally launched as music-only, video has become a major component of Apple's store. New data released this week by the NPD Group found that iTunes currently accounts for 67 percent of online television episode downloads, as well as 65 percent of movies purchased.

Beyond music and video, the iTunes Store also encompasses applications, e-books, and subscriptions to digital publications.