Apps to outsell iTunes downloads by year-end

Apps will outsell music downloads at the iTunes store by two to one by the end of the year, according to Finnish analyst Asymco.

The firm says that it’s taken the App Store just 2.2 years to shift the same number of items as the iTunes store managed in five. It reckons that by the end of 2010, total downloads for each are likely to hit around 13 billion.

This is despite the fact that the total number of apps available is far smaller at around a quarter of a million. This is way below the 12 million songs available on iTunes – although one mustn’t forget that many, unlinke songs, are free.

“If the current download rate is maintained (17 million apps/day) and if the pricing of $0.29 per app is preserved, then $1.8 billion will have been spent on iOS apps this year,” says Asymco.

“With the rate of downloads increasing as steeply as it is, $2 billion in sales is not unlikely in the third year of the store. Twice what Jobs was predicting for ‘some point in time’.”

Altogether, says Asymco, 6.3 billion iOS apps have been downloaded since the store launched – that’s an awful lot of farts. They’re currently shifting at a rate of 17.6 million per day.

But iTunes sales, says the firm, have been growing at a far slower rate, and have actually dropped off sharply in the last year since Apple raised the price from $0.99 to $1.29. The iTunes Store is selling under nine million songs per day right now, compared with about 11 million before the price hike.

The price rise may not be the only reason for the tail-off of music sales. Research outfit Neilsen Soundscan says album sales were at a record low last month, due in part to illegal downloads.