A DIGITAL MUSIC REVOLUTION
Once upon a time, people were forced to carry clunky Discmans and schlep their favorite CDs around with them just to enjoy their favorite songs. But all of that changed on October 23, 2001, when Apple revolutionized the digital music market with the launch of the iPod. Described by then-CEO Steve Jobs as “1,000 songs in your pocket,” the sleek music player changed the way we listened to music forever. Its compact design was less bulky, and more attractive and user friendly than competing digital players already on the market. Initial sales, however, were slow.
With a steep $400 price tag, only 10 gigabytes of hard drive space and compatibility exclusive with Mac computers, Apple managed to sell 376,000 iPods its first year out. But by the time it introduced the fifth-generation iPod in 2005—equipped with a color screen, video playback, cheaper price and more space ($299 for 30 gigabytes)—sales were through the roof with 6.5 million iPods sold during the fourth quarter of that year alone.
Over the years, many variations of the iconic music player have sprung up: iPod mini, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, and the iPod Touch, which became the first touch screen-based music player in 2007 with a 3.5-inch screen and 16 gigabytes of storage space. Eventually, automobile makers such as BMW, Volvo and Toyota began to give music lovers “the hook-up” when they started including iPod integration kits in their cars.
iPod sales peaked in 2008 with 54.8 million units sold, and although they’ve been on a steady decline ever since, it still remains the No. 1 selling music player in the world with 70% of the market on lock and over 300 million units sold to date.