Apple has sold over 70 million tracks through its iTunes Music Store, the company announced today.

The company is celebrating the first anniversary of the April 28 launch of the store with the release of what it calls the "third generation" music store and iTunes 4.5. Software updates for QuickTime and iPods are also available.

Marking the service's first birthday, Apple says: "In its first year, music fans have purchased more than 70 million songs, making it the number one online music service in the world with more than 70 per cent market share of legal downloads for singles and albums. iTunes customers are currently purchasing 2.7 million songs per week, a rate of 140 million songs per year."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, whose personal commitment and energy enabled the launch of the store, said: "iTunes has exceeded our wildest expectations during its first year, charting a new direction for the music industry. The unbeatable combination of iTunes and the market-leading iPod offers music fans a seamless experience for discovering, buying, managing and enjoying their music anywhere."

The company now offers over 700,000 tracks form all the major labels and more than 450 independent labels through its service. The company has also added a host of new features to iTunes – many of which will even benefit users outside the US, who cannot buy music from the store.

The company has however reduced the number of times users can burn specifi music playlists to CD: Honouring Apple’s commitment to discourage music theft while preserving fair personal use rights, the number of times a user can burn the same playlist onto CDs with iTunes is being reduced from ten burns to seven. Users can still burn a single song an unlimited number of times and listen to their music on an unlimited number of iPods," the company said.

US users can also download a free track from iTunes every day for the next eight days. These will include a song each from The Foo Fighters, Avril Lavigne, Courtney Love, Annie Lennox, Jane’s Addiction, Counting Crows, Renee Fleming and Nelly Furtado. A Free Single of the Week will be made available each week thereafter.