Apple launches countdown to a billion songs

Apple has quietly launched its countdown to a billion songs sold on the iTunes Music Store. “Music lovers like you in 21 countries around the globe have purchased nearly one billion songs from the iTunes Music Store. And as we count down to this massive milestone in digital music history, we’d like to thank you for joining us,” Apple says. “We’ve got one billion reasons to celebrate, and we’re starting with you.”

The company is giving away a 4GB iPod nano and a $100 iTunes gift card to the iTunes customer who purchases the winning song at each 100,000 interval. The grand prize winner who downloads the billionth song will receive a 20-inch iMac, 10 60GB iPods, and a $10,000 iTunes gift card. In addition, Apple said it will create a full-ride scholarship in the winner’s name to a world-renowned music school.

Like it has with past milestones, Apple has posted a live song counter online to help users participate in the contest. The tally currently stands at nearly 960 million songs sold.

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