updated 1/24/2005 2:05:57 PM ET 2005-01-24T19:05:57

Now selling at a rate of more than a million downloads per day, Apple Computer Inc. said Monday customers have purchased a total more than 250 million songs from its online iTunes Music Store.

The store, now available in 15 countries, is selling 1.25 million songs per day, which puts the annual run rate of almost half a billion songs per year, Apple said.

Apple helped invigorate the market for legal music downloads when it launched the iTunes store in April 2003, but its robust sales continues to far outpace rival services.

The success is due in part to Apple's wildly popular iPod portable music players, which are designed not to play songs purchased from competing online music stores.

The Cupertino-based company sold 4.5 million iPods in the fourth quarter and more than 10 million since its debut in October 2001.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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