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Apple sells 50 million songs on the Web

Apple Computer said it has sold more than 50 million songs through its online iTunes Music Store, a feat that has transformed the retailing of recorded music.

Apple’s latest tally falls short of its one-year anniversary target of 100 million songs by April 28, but company officials said they weren’t discouraged.

A dozen other online music services followed Apple’s 99-cents-per-download debut with similar a la carte song services. Apple maintains a clear lead over its closest rival, Napster, which announced its five million-song milestone in February. Another competitor, Musicmatch, has not disclosed its song sales but analysts estimate it follows closely behind Napster.

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