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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Fun With Charts: From iTunes to Apple TV+

Note: This story has not been updated since 2020.

In 2003 Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, transforming Apple from just a seller of hardware and software into a company that sells digital goods on the Internet. At the time it seemed like an incremental step to make the iPod experience better—and it was that. But it was also the start of a trend that has only intensified over the 17 years that have followed. Last year, Apple’s services business brought in $46 billion.

Over the years Apple has rolled out all sorts of different media stores, which I’ve attempted to encapsulate in this chart:

I had forgotten that TV sales preceded movies by three years, mostly because Steve Jobs had a good relationship with Disney boss Bob Iger, who was willing to experiment with Apple selling ABC TV shows. (Apple’s relationship with NBC Universal was more fraught, as witnessed by NBC’s disappearance from the store in 2007 and subsequent reappearance in 2008.

While most of Apple’s media stores continue to operate, it’s worth noting that Apple’s attempt at renting individual TV episodes didn’t even last 12 months. It was probably some TV executive’s dumb idea.

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