With an opening message of "Hell froze over," Apple launched its iTunes Music Store for Windows, making the popular music downloading retail service available to millions of new users.
Now Windows users will have access to the same catalog of songs which have been available to Apple owners for the past six months. In that time, the iTunes Music Store has become the busiest provider of paid music downloads, with more than 13 million songs purchased at $0.99 each. iTunes expects to have more than 400,000 songs to offer buyers by the end of the month, representing all five major labels and more than 200 independents.
The service has been popular with current releases -- Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom" is currently the most popular track, with OutKast's new single, "Hey Ya!" just behind it -- as well as a vessel to offer exclusive material. Both Ben Harper and Sarah McLachlan are offering material for purchase and download only through iTunes. Also new to the service is its Celebrity Playlist where the likes of Billy Corgan, Michelle Branch, Missy Elliott and Michael Stipe offer up their favorite songs.
In other iTunes news, three significant independent labels -- Matador, Kill Rock Stars and SpinArt -- struck partnerships with the service, making available music by the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Interpol, Guided by Voices, Mark Eitzel and others.