A decade on, iTunes faces fight

WHEN Apple opened its iTunes music store a decade ago amid the ashes of Napster, the music industry - reeling from the effects of online piracy - was anxious to see how the new music service would shake out.

"The sky was falling, and iTunes provided a place where we were going to monetise music and ... stem the tide of piracy. So, it was certainly a solution for the time," says Michael McDonald, who co-founded ATO Records with Dave Matthews and runs Mick Management.

The iTunes music store became much more than a solution; it changed how many consume music and access entertainment.

In the United States, it is not only music's biggest retailer, it also dominates the digital video market, with 67 per cent of the TV show sale market and 65 per cent of the movie sale market, according to information company NPD group.

Its apps are the most profitable, it has expanded to books and magazines, and it is now available in 119 countries. This week, iTunes posted a record US$2.4 billion in first-quarter earnings.

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