You’ve hopefully already seen yesterday’s story on Apple announcing the iTunes Store’s 25bn music-downloads milestone. So what more can we learn from it? One is that iTunes music sales are accelerating, despite the ongoing debate about whether streaming services cannibalise them.

Apple announced that iTunes had passed 15bn music downloads in June 2011, before revealing the 20bn milestone 15 months later in September 2012. A mere four months later, we’re at 25bn.

In September, Eddy Cue noted that iOS devices are driving the growth, with two thirds of iTunes downloads going directly to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices rather than to computers.

It seems Apple’s surge in iOS device sales – there are 500m active App Store accounts, a good indicator of the number of individuals with one or more iOS devices – is more than making up for any cannibalisation threat posed by Spotify, Deezer and other services. For now, at least – and the caveat is that iTunes is in a lot more countries (119) than the vast majority of streaming services.

Of course, as we’ve noted before, the growth of iOS (and Android) is also providing the crucial base for these streaming music services’ growth, with mobile-app access the key selling point for their premium subscriptions.

Right now, smartphone and tablet sales are a rising tide lifting all forms of digital music consumption, it seems.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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