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Apple Sells Billionth iTune

Alex Ostrovsky got more than he bargained for when downloading Coldplay's "Speed of Sound" from the iTunes Music Store.

The 16-year-old's purchase was the one billionth song bought from the online music service that Apple Computer Inc. kicked off three years ago, charging 99 cents for most tracks. Ostrovsky's selection was from Coldplay's "X&Y" album.

The youth, who lives in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield Township, was showered with prizes: a 20-inch iMac, 10 fifth-generation iPods and a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

Apple also said it would establish a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music in his name.

"Over one billion songs have now been legally purchased and downloaded around the globe, representing a major force against music piracy and the future of music distribution as we move from CDs to the Internet," Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said in a statement.

Besides more than 2 million songs from the major music companies and independent record labels, the iTunes Music Store also features music videos, Pixar and Disney short films, TV shows, podcasts and audiobooks.

The growing popularity of purchasing songs by the track shows in declining CD sales. A total of 618.9 million CD albums were sold during 2005, down from the 762.8 million in 2001, according to Nielsen Soundscan.