Apple's iTunes Music Store is a "ray of hope" for the slump-hit music industry, says influencial music magazine Rolling Stone.

iTunes Music Store sold over 2 million songs in its first two weeks of operation. Rolling Stone said: "For the slumping music industry, which has seen sales fall 8 per cent through the first four months of 2003 compared to the same period in 2002, this news came as a ray of hope."

UK and Ireland top Apple charts Six of the top ten most downloaded songs come from UK and Ireland - Ireland's U2 and England's Coldplay. U2's manager Paul McGuinness told Rolling Stone: "Anyone who has got a penicillin for what's wrong with the music business deserves our encouragement."

Despite the service's success, the magazine says: "The labels stand to earn about $33.8 million from the iTunes Music Store this year, which lags behind the $45.4 million that vinyl records brought in last year." The article doesn't specify if the vinyl sales figures are based on worldwide or US-only sales figures.

The report also states that Apple's service won't match the collective revenues of existing subscription-based services, which support Windows.

Apple's plans to launch a Windows-friendly iTunes Music Store service by the end of the year. Rolling Stone reports that only two of the five major labels have signed deals allowing Apple to carry their music through its Windows service.