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iTunes sells 25 billion songs; prize won for ''Monkey Drums'' download

By Eric Kelsey

(Reuters) - Apple's iTunes music store hit its 25 billionth download - equal to selling more than three songs for every person on Earth - and on Wednesday gave the German student who bought the track a gift card worth 10,000 euro ($13,500).

Economics student Phillip Luepke, 22, of Hanover, Germany, downloaded the techno song "Monkey Drums (Goksel Vancin Remix)" by British DJ Chase Buch, hitting the number a decade after the online music store debuted.

"I was very surprised to hear the news," Luepke told Reuters by phone from his home in Germany.

"I woke up this morning and had an email from Apple saying I had the 25 billionth download," he said. "In fact, I didn't quite believe it at first. It's a new feeling for me."

Luepke, who is currently studying for exams, said he came across the song at a disco last Saturday night.

He used the song-identification smartphone application Shazam to look up its name, after which he downloaded "Monkey Drums" the following evening.

Luepke, who will celebrate over a few beers with friends, said he is not sure how he will spend the gift certificate, but he is confident that his music and movie collection will grow.

Cupertino, California-based Apple launched the iTunes store in April 2003 and has averaged about 15,000 songs downloaded each minute. The store has a catalog of more than 26 million songs in 119 countries.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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