Apple: 600 million songs sold, biggest competitor is P2P

Following the launch of the Australian iTunes Music Store today, an Apple executive said the company has now sold more than 600 millions songs, and that illegal music downloading is the biggest competitor to iTunes.

“We have now sold over 600 million songs worldwide and have nearly 80 percent market share in most of the countries we are in,” said iTunes vice-president Eddy Cue. “This is our 21st [iTunes Music Store] and I will say that there is no place that we have ever launched where music downloads have been strong prior to us.”.

Cue said that illegal music file-sharing services such as Kazaa and BitTorrent are the closest things Apple has to a digital music competitor.

“Our view is that our biggest competitor is illegal music and P2P services,” Cue said. “We always thought that if we offered a better alternative then those customers would be happy to pay.

Obviously… we will never be better than free… but we think AU$1.69 is a very competitive and fair price to pay.”

Cue also confirmed that the Sony BMG music label is missing from Apple’s iTunes Australia launch. “We are working with Sony and we know their artists would like to be a part of the launch and we hope they will join us,” he said.