October 31, 2005: Less than three weeks after launching a video download from iTunes 6, Apple reveals that it has already sold more than a million music videos.
Apple’s dive into the online digital video market – with 2,000 music videos, Pixar short films and a selection of hit TV shows for $ 1.99 – seems like the logical next step after selling individual songs on iTunes. So fast passing the measurement of 1 million downloads indicates that the plan is a great success.
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iTunes video: a logical step
As with many of what Apple has done over the years, the move to start selling TV shows and other video content came at the perfect time. YouTube was still in its infancy (so people were actually paying money for music videos). However, the increased penetration of high-speed internet has finally enabled video streaming for ordinary users.
I got my first broadband connection around that time. In the past, more than just downloading a short video has proved completely unfeasible. Getting broadband access was like being taken into the future.
Apple’s long hug video
Apple has a long history of allowing users to watch videos on their machines. Back in the 1980s, Apple experimented with demos, such as Steve Perlman’s QuickScan, which enabled video playback on the Mac. In 1991, Mac users became able to use QuickTime, which has long served as a standardized video tool for computer users.
Until 2005, Apple was working on a future in which it would produce mobile devices that support video. This was crucial if downloading music videos and other material would fulfill its potential – just as the iPod was key to downloading music from iTunes.
iPod Classic with video
In October 2005, Apple launched the fifth-generation iPod Classic, with a screen larger than ever. This introduced video playback to the music player for the first time. According to the biography Become Steve Jobs, Apple boss put new Disney CEO Bob Iger to the idea of opening his own digital distribution shows by showing him a new iPod video.
“Would you consider putting your TV shows on this?” Jobs asked. Iger answered in the affirmative without fail.
Eventually, Apple secured contracts to sell downloaded hit shoes such as Desperate Housewives,, Lost i Grey’s Anatomy. The music video offering has merged this new focus on video with Apple’s existing contracts with record labels. Videos by artists such as Michael Jackson, Fatboy Slim and Kanye West have helped iTunes cross the million download limit.
All about context
Today, with top-notch YouTubers and Ticktockers reaching millions of views in a matter of days, and music videos coming to the Billion View Club faster than ever, the idea of Apple releasing a press release to screw up about 1 million music video downloads looks astounding strange. However, at the time it was big news. This early success also laid the groundwork for Apple’s expansion into a whole new area of business.
Here in 2020, Apple goes beyond mere video distribution. With Apple TV +, the company now produces its own TV shows and movies. The streaming service features a host of shows commissioned by Cupertino, all for $ 4.99 a month. Regardless of whether Apple TV + will eventually become the winner of Netflix or not, it all started for Apple back in 2005.
Do you remember the first music video or TV show you downloaded via iTunes? Leave your comments below.
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