Music has been called the universal language. Even a German philosopher with ties to nihilism once stated, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Which is precisely why we were interested—though in hindsight, not actually surprised—to find out that by the end of 2010, the number of apps downloaded from the iPhone app store over the past 2.2 years is expected match the total number of songs downloaded on iTunes since the latter launched 5 years back.
Per Sarah Perez at the New York Times:
That’s a staggering thought, when you really think about it. After all, the original iPhone didn’t even support the development of third-party mobile applications when it launched in summer 2007. It wasn’t until March of the following year that Apple released development tools (the iPhone SDK, or software development kit), allowing aspiring developers to begin work on mobile creations that would run on an upcoming version of the iPhone operating system, due out later that summer.
So why are mobile application downloads outpacing those of individual songs? The same NYT article poses three main hypotheses: Apps let consumers personalize their phones, many apps are free and apps serve as substitutes to downloaded music. We’ll let you decide if those or other factors are driving this phenomenon (and we won’t go so far as to rewrite Nietzsche’s statement to say without apps, life would be a mistake), but we’re pretty confident this impressive showing from the applications world is just the beginning. Happy downloading!