Apple's iTunes Music Store sold over one million songs in its first week, the company announced yesterday.

Over half the songs purchased were albums, mitigating concern that selling songs on a per-track basis would reduce album sales. In addition, over half the songs offered through the service were purchased at least once.

Apple also announced that over one million copies of iTunes 4 were downloaded, and that it has received orders for in excess of 110,000 third-generation iPods.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: "In less than one week we've broken every record and become the largest online-music company in the world.

"Apple has created the first complete solution for the digital music age - you can purchase your favourite music online at the iTunes Music Store, mix your favourite tracks into playlists with iTunes, and take your entire music collection with you everywhere with the super-slim new iPods," he said.

Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Roger Ames praised the response: "Hitting one million songs in less than a week was totally unexpected. Apple has shown music fans, artists and the music industry as a whole that there really is a successful and easy way of legally distributing music over the Internet."

His comments were echoed by Universal Music CEO Doug Morris: "Our internal measure of success was having the iTunes Music Store sell one million songs in the first month. To do this in one week is an over-the-top success."

EMI UK's head of new media Fergal Gara said: "Apple's launch is a very big move strategically. I think this could be a defining moment within this space."

He added: "Simplicity and freedom of choice are important - and clear within Apple's solution. What has been lacking until now is ease of use."

EMI made 140,000 tracks available online the week before last. "Making this work is now high on the agenda. Highly-placed executives have spent the time. There is a huge appeal to instant music in your own home," Gara added.