10 Billionth iTunes Download Yields Cash, Jobs

Apple founder calls back Georgia man with $10G prize

By Liza Eckert
|  Friday, Feb 26, 2010  |  Updated 3:37 PM CDT
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10 Billionth iTunes Download Yields Cash, Jobs

Steve Jobs called one recent customer.

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A Georgia man got a serious surprise after downloading Johnny Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way" when Apple boss Steve Jobs called him to say it was iTunes' 10 billionth download.

Louie Sulcer, 71, who said he was making a mix for his son, said he had no idea the company was holding a contest and at first didn't believe his ears.

“I have a son that loves to play tricks and he does that every now and then — calls me and imitates somebody,” Sulcer said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “He called me and said, ‘This is Steve Jobs from Apple.’ I said, ‘Yeah right,’ ”

But Jobs got his attention when he told him he'd won a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

Sulcer has been using iTunes for about three years, mainly to download his favorite 1960s country music. He had never even heard the Cash song when he decided to download it based on the 30 second preview.

“I really liked it. It had some really good pickin’ in it. So that’s how I got to that song,” he said.

Before winning the contest, he had less than 900 songs in his iTunes library. Now, he's going to need more space than the 16-gigabytes on the iPod he got for his last birthday. 

In anticipation of the ten billionth download, Apple had compiled a list of the most downloaded songs of all time, which included tracks from the Black Eyed Peas, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Coldplay, whose "Speed of Sound" was the one billionth download in 2006. Johnny Cash was nowhere to be found.

Guess things happen that way.

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