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A song called 'Monkey Drums' is iTunes' 25 billionth download. What was your first?

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Who says nobody buys music anymore?

Today, iTunes announced the sale of the 25 billionth song on the digital-retail giant.

The track, Chase Buch’s “Monkey Drums (Goksel Vancin Remix)” was downloaded by a German gentleman named Phillip Lüpke. His good fortune (and his enthusiasm for deep house remixes) has netted him an iTunes gift card worth 10,000 Euro.

The iTunes store first launched in April 2003 and has often celebrated milestones like this along the way. They hit their first billion in 2006 when a Michigan man, Alex Ostrovsky, purchased Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” (he got a call from Steve Jobs, 10 iPods, a new iMac, and $10,000 in iTunes credit for his troubles). According to a press release, iTunes sells 15,000 downloads every minute.

Though there are other ways to legally download music, iTunes remains dominant (they control nearly 90% of that market), and for most people iTunes represents the gateway into all music buying.

I can remember purchasing my first iTunes download as vividly as I can remember buying my first cassette: I was working at another magazine and needed to check a lyric on a song from 13th Floor Elevators’ Easter Everywhere, and the quickest way to do that was to buy it through iTunes. (For a long time, it was the only album I had on that particular computer thanks to a faulty disc drive.) To this day, I can’t hear “Slip Inside This House” without thinking about the Apple logo.

So we ask you, dear readers: What was your first music purchase on iTunes? And how many do you reckon you’ve contributed to the 25 billion (and counting)? Let us know in the comments.

Read More on EW.com:
Beyonce, Destiny’s Child get big post-Super Bowl bumps on iTunes
iTunes reveals top-selling music, movies, TV, books, and apps of 2012
What songs did you listen to the most this year? EW’s music staff weighs in

AC/DC, longtime iTunes holdouts, finally join the party

Anybody who has ever been to an AC/DC concert knows that they are pretty much permanently anchored in 1980, the year singer Brian Johnson replaced the late Bon Scott and the band released their iconic Back in Black. And that’s OK, because Back in Black rules and AC/DC rock really hard.

It also might explain why it took so long for the band to show up on iTunes. AC/DC has never made any of its music available for digital purchase—until today. The group’s entire back catalog is now available on the premiere digital music retailer as of this morning, which means that the seven digital music enthusiasts who don’t own Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap can now complete their collections.

The rollout not only includes the entirety of the band’s studio albums, but also their live albums (including Live at River Plate, which just came out today), soundtracks, box sets (including the excellent Bon Scott compendium Bonfire), and a series of official AC/DC ringtones. AC/DC’s catalog has always sold extremely well (Back in Black regularly outsells new albums on the Billboard 200), which is mostly because the band has never released a greatest hits album and at least partially because they’ve never been available digitally.

The gambit has paid off: When the band released their last studio album Black Ice in 2008, it sold 784,000 copies in its opening week, even though it was only available at Wal-Mart and also contained 12 variations on “Hell’s Bells” (which, to be fair, has described every AC/DC album since 1980).

As of this writing, AC/DC had yet to have any real impact on the iTunes charts (Back in Black is number 65 on the albums chart, and there aren’t any singles in the iTunes Top Singles), but it will be interesting to track what sort of impact this move has on one of the most lucrative back catalogs in rock.

Read More on EW.com:
With Beatles now on iTunes, who are the last holdouts—and why?
‘Iron Man 2′ pairs up with AC/DC for full soundtrack album
Review: AC/DC, Black Ice

Grammys 2012: Adele's '21' tops iTunes charts and Amazon Best Sellers list

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“We could have had it all.” Well, at this point, Adele you sort of do have it all.

In addition to her Grammys sweep last night (the acclaimed songstress won in all six of her nominated categories, including Record of the Year for “Rolling in the Deep” and Album of the Year for her platinum smash 21), Adele is once again dominating the charts. As of Monday, the Grammy-winning 21 (which has spent fifty weeks on Billboard) topped the iTunes charts, just ahead of Whitney Houston‘s Greatest Hits album. The late singer’s catalog unsurprisingly saw a surge in sales over the weekend after the news of her passing. But Adele (whose previous Grammy-winning album 19 also found its way into the top 10) wasn’t the only one to get an iTunes boost. Coldplay, the Civil Wars, and Kelly Clarkson also saw a boost thanks to their Grammy appearances.
READ FULL STORY

Rihanna crowned best-selling digital artist of all time

How does one sell nearly 50 million downloads in six years? By releasing nearly 50 million singles in six years.

Hyperbole aside, Nielsen Soundscan revealed that Rihanna is now the top-selling digital artist of all time (time here being about as old as the iTunes Store), having moved 47.5 million digital tracks since her 2005 debut.

This gives her a safe lead ahead of runners-up the Black Eyed Peas, who have 42.4 million digital tracks under their Tron belts, and Eminem, who ranks third with 42.29 million.

The Grammy-winning singer’s previous accomplishments include eclipsing Madonna to become the fastest artist to produce 20 Hot 100 top-10 singles, which she pulled off with “We Found Love.”

Of course, one might say RiRi breaks a lot of records largely by making a lot of them. Since 2005, the Barbadian chart beast has released six studio albums and an astonishing 27 singles — more than the BEPs and Eminem combined in the same amount of time.

The full list is below; see if you can count how many of them haven’t collaborated with Rihanna before: READ FULL STORY

Today in Kelly Clarkson: Yes, she's ditching 'Idol' for the 'Voice'; no, Ron Paul didn't actually affect her sales

Sorry, Seacrest: Kelly Clarkson is making a Breakaway from American Idol.

The singer and first Idol winner will serve as a mentor on the next season of The Voice, the New York Post reports. The episode will air in the spring and feature the “Mr. Know It All” songstress giving tips to contestants under Voice coach Blake Shelton’s wings.

Could this mean that Idol is officially square now, eclipsed by newcomers like The Voice and The X Factor?

“The thing I love about The Voice is that they’re more mentors — they’re not judges,” Clarkson said of Idol‘s hotter, younger sister in an interview last September. “I would never really want to be a judge, just because I don’t want to break people’s hearts.”

Added Clarkson, “I so want to audition for The Voice and see if I can get the chairs to turn around!”

Elsewhere, Billboard reports that the Ron Paul bump that supposedly lifted Clarkson’s sales ended up being a bit of a hoax.

While her most recent album Stronger did in fact experience a rise in the charts, it actually dropped in sales — just not as steeply as other albums, likely due to a big promotional push from the Apple iTunes Store.

Read more on EW.com:
Kelly Clarkson sees sales pick up following Ron Paul endorsement
Kelly Clarkson gets into extended Twitter war over endorsement of Ron Paul
Kelly Clarkson isn’t the only celeb showing support for a presidential hopeful

iTunes: Adele tops 2011's best-selling song and album charts

Did we need further evidence that this has been Adele’s year sales-wise? Probably not. But for the benefit of anyone still debating the matter, iTunes has just announced that the British singer’s track “Rolling in the Deep” was the year’s top downloaded song while its parent album, 21, was 2011’s most popular collection. iTunes also named Adele its Artist of the Year.

21 was followed on the album list by Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More and Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV. LMFAO claimed second place on the singles list with “Party Rock Anthem” while Katy Perry’s “Firework” was third.

Find iTunes’ top ten best-selling songs and albums of 2011 below: READ FULL STORY

Pete Townshend calls iTunes a 'digital vampire' -- Do you agree?

In the wake of Steve Jobs’ passing, there have been an awful lot of tributes to the genius who gave the world a staggering amount of technological gadgets that we didn’t know we needed until we had them.

But the Who guitarist Pete Townshend won’t be casting  vote for Jobs’ sainthood; he recently declared iTunes “a digital vampire” that ultimately hurts musicians.

During a lecture at Britain’s 2011 Radio Festival earlier this week, Townshend threw out fighting words about a whole bevy of music industry-related issues, including iTunes, one of Jobs’ most influential creations. He referred to the music store as a “digital vampire,” gradually bleeding musicians dry by taking a cut of every download sold on the site.

His comments about Jobs seemed especially mixed; while he at one point referred to him as “one of the coolest guys on the planet,” he also admitted that he once “wanted to cut his balls off,” though that was all under the guise of Townshend’s “inner artist,” which made frequent appearances throughout the speech.

The central idea that concerns Townshend is a solid one — fundamentally, that artists should be compensated for their work no matter what the means of distribution are. “Whether the public listen or not, creative writers and musicians should get paid if their work generates money by virtue of its mere existence on radio, television, YouTube, Facebook or SoundCloud,” he explained. “If someone pretends to be me, or pretends that something I have created should be available to them free (because creativity has less value than an hour’s work by me as a musician in a pub) I wonder what has gone wrong with human morality and social justice.” READ FULL STORY

Beatles back at no. 1 on iTunes today; major artists share their favorite Fab Four tunes

There are few things surer in life than death, taxes, and the continued selling powers of the Beatles.

Today, the Fab Four bowed at no. 1 on iTunes with their mammoth 2000 hits collection 1, handily stealing the top spot from Lil Wayne’s That Carter IV and lording over the likes of Adele’s long-running 21 and Maroon 5’s newly revitalized Hands All Over, among others.

In the next few weeks, iTunes will also be rolling out the personal Beatles song picks of several contemporary stars, including Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Dave Grohl, Demi Lovato, Coldplay, and Ryan Adams—the last of whom we have a sneak preview of, exclusively here.

Says Adams of his own pick, “The Long and Winding Road”:

“I first heard the song in the way that you first ‘really hear’ a song—when it feels as though you’re listening with your whole body—last summer in London. I was lost in some neighborhood I was not meant to be in after a wrong turn. As the sky turned dark with mid-summer storm clouds the Glyn Johns mix in my headphones filled my skull with tremendous longing and a righteous amount of pain. I am now forever a fan after a lifetime of not being much of one. Still I will not buy a record with songs about naval craft no matter the color.”

Readers, do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

More on EW.com:
Spotify stalking: Everything I never wanted to know about my Facebook friends’ taste in music
Madonna back in the studio, aiming for new album in spring 2012
Michael Jackson tribute tour to be launched by David Gest, Tito Jackson, and more

Spotify USA is real, and it's pretty spectacular: An EW review

I was re-(re-re-re-re-)watching The Social Network a couple of days ago and one of the lines jumped out at me. Well, actually, all of the lines jumped out at me—oh, you and your snappy dialogue, Aaron Sorkin—but especially when Justin Timberlake, playing entrepreneurial roller coaster Sean Parker, explains that despite founding Napster, he was dead broke because “there’s not a lot of money in free music.”

While that was undoubtedly true in the days of Napster’s brave Lewis and Clark quest into the copyright wilderness, fending off vicious packs of feral Ulrichs, it looks like we’re edging closer to the point where the way we consume music has changed completely. In essence, iTunes isn’t much more than the online equivalent of a giant Sam Goody’s; but something like Spotify, which has finally made its debut in the United States after massive success overseas, signals many more possibilities.

The program isn’t shockingly new from things we’ve seen before—sites likes Grooveshark and Pandora gave us access to tons of songs for free, as well—but Spotify has an easy, Facebook-compatible system that encourages sharing. Structured around playlists, it allows users to build their own, pass them along to friends, and then trawl through those friends’ collections for songs they like.

In terms of content, Spotify says they have 15 million songs, but, in the words of Aaliyah, that ain’t nothing but a number. Importantly, that figure includes songs and albums that people care about right now, like the new Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.  There’s also variety: Just tooling around this afternoon, I found an extensive array of artists, along a ton of different axes, from Katy Perry to Panda Bear, Ke$ha to Tchaikov$ky, Bird to Birdman. Not everything is available just yet. For example, there a big, soulful hole where Adele’s 21 should be, even if they do have her previous album. READ FULL STORY

Jon Bon Jovi accuses Steve Jobs of being 'personally responsible for killing the music business'

Shot through the heart, and Steve Jobs is to blame.

That is Jon Bon Jovi’s assessment of the current state of the music industry. Bon Jovi (of the iconic rock group “Jon”) had some uncharacteristically harsh words for Apple and its turtlenecked benevolent dictator Steve Jobs in an interview with the London-based Sunday Times Magazine.

Sounding a bit like an older man protective of his lawn — the quote literally starts with “kids today” — Bon Jovi bemoaned the fact that the young’uns no longer have “the experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album, and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it.” READ FULL STORY

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