Last year, Apple ran a sweepstake with a grand prize including a MacBook Pro and an iPod Touch to mark the one billionth app download.
This time around, the idea is that the person who downloads the 10 billionth song will receive a $US10,000 iTunes gift card for his or her trouble. Since the "no purchase necessary" rule applies, the winner could be someone who submits a manual entry immediately after the 9,999,999,999th download.
Either way, that's a whole heap of content.
Maybe I'm wrong, but wouldn't you be happier with a random draw among all the people downloading in a period leading up to the milestone? (Plus, perhaps, a 'one manual entry per day' clause.)
Who can enter the sweepstake? See page 2.
It would also be fairer to people who live in time zones with relatively few iTunes customers. The sheer weight of numbers means that the prize is likely to be won during the day or evening, US or European time.
The good news is that the prize can potentially be won by a resident of most of the territories where the iTunes Store operates: "the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom, if available."
That last phrase is a bit ominous, but presumably just means "if the iTunes Store isn't available at the critical time, that's your bad luck and not our problem."
As another part of the celebration, Apple has compiled a list of the 25 most downloaded songs. To save you looking, Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling took the top spot.
In line with the rapid growth of iTunes, the bulk of these songs were released in the last couple of years. One exception is Plain White T's Hey There Delilah, from the 2005 album All That We Needed.