How many songs are in the average iTunes library?

Digital music libraries have become increasingly popular over the last two decades with the rise of digital audio players and music stores. The iTunes platform, first released by Apple in 2001, played a pivotal role in this shift towards digital music collections. Originally launched as a simple music player for Mac computers, iTunes evolved into a sophisticated platform for managing, purchasing, and playing digital music and videos [1]. With over 850 million iTunes accounts worldwide as of 2018, it is one of the largest digital music platforms and libraries [2]. Understanding the size of the average iTunes library can provide insight into digital music consumption and collecting habits in the iTunes era.


Data on the average size of iTunes libraries has been gathered through various surveys and analysis tools over the years. One early source of data was a discussion thread on the Apple support forums in 2008, where users shared statistics generated by a third-party iTunes plugin called iTunes Statistician ( This tool analyzed iTunes libraries and produced stats on the top songs, artists, albums and more.

More recently, sites like have compiled statistics on iTunes library size based on aggregated data from multiple sources. They report the average iTunes library contains 7,160 songs, citing anonymized data from over 100,000 iTunes users ( Other software tools like TuneSweeper also scan local iTunes libraries and compile aggregated statistics on the contents (

In summary, data on iTunes library size has been gathered through voluntary surveys, aggregated anonymous data collection, and analysis via specialized software tools over the past 10+ years.

Average Song Count

Research shows that the average iTunes library size varies greatly depending on the user. According to a 2011 article on Ars Technica, the average iTunes library size among more serious users tends to be around 7,000 songs. However, more casual iTunes users likely have much smaller libraries, perhaps in the range of a few hundred songs.

Overall, a 2010 study by Asymco estimated that over 60 apps had been downloaded per iOS device sold at that time. While this doesn’t directly correlate to music purchases, it does suggest that many iOS/iTunes users do actively acquire digital content. So the average iTunes library is likely at least a few hundred songs, even among casual users.

Factors Influencing Size

Age, gender, income level and other demographic factors impact the size of iTunes libraries, with some key factors standing out:

Age – Younger users tend to have larger libraries, including more tracks from pop, hip hop, electronic and other contemporary genres. Older generations often have smaller libraries focused on classic rock, jazz and other genres popular in their youth.

Gender – According to a 2022 report, men’s iTunes libraries average around 20% larger than women’s. Men are more likely to amass large libraries of specific genres or artists.

Income Level – Higher income correlates with larger libraries. Wealthier users can afford to purchase more music, while lower income users rely more on free streaming. However, income doesn’t dictate taste – libraries still vary based on personal preferences.

Power Users vs. Casual – So-called “power users” intentionally build large libraries, collecting deep discographies of favorite artists. Casual listeners have smaller collections of popular tracks they enjoy. Power users skew collection size averages upward.

Power Users

Some people compile massive iTunes libraries with a huge number of songs. According to Seth Gunderson, during high school he became an iTunes power user, collecting tens of thousands of songs in his library. These power users often spend hours meticulously organizing their libraries and tagging their media files with detailed metadata.

As noted in a discussion on the Apple website, iTunes power users take pride in their massive libraries and don’t like that term because it makes them seem obsessive (Source). But they enjoy collecting a huge variety of music across many genres and time periods.

Power users want to have access to their entire music collection on demand. According to a thread on Mac Power Users, these libraries can reach sizes over 1 terabyte with 500,000 songs or more (Source). Power users are always looking for more storage space and processing power to manage their ever-expanding libraries.

Casual Users

Casual iTunes users tend to have smaller libraries compared to power users. According to iPod and iTunes Portable Genius, a small iTunes library is considered to have less than 500 tracks. Those with limited music collections may only use iTunes occasionally to sync new music or videos to their devices. They likely rely more heavily on streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music for everyday listening.

Smaller iTunes libraries are common among casual users who are not avid music collectors. Their libraries may consist of albums from favorite musicians or soundtracks from popular movies and shows. With less music to manage overall, casual users will see lower average song counts in iTunes.

Digital vs. Physical

With the rise of digital music, many listeners now access their music libraries primarily through streaming services or digital downloads instead of physical formats like CDs or vinyl records. Digital music provides a number of advantages over physical formats:

Cost-effectiveness – Buying music digitally is generally cheaper than buying physical copies. There are no manufacturing or shipping costs involved with digital (according to

Convenience and portability – Digital libraries can be accessed anywhere at any time through smartphones, laptops, etc. There’s no need to carry around physical music collections.

Storage – Digital libraries take up very little physical space compared to shelves of CDs or vinyl records.

However, some listeners still prefer physical formats for reasons like sound quality, artwork, album liner notes, and the nostalgic ritual of playing physical media. According to one Redditor, “Some people like to have more an experience with physical media,” especially with vinyl records (

Changes Over Time

As digital music has grown in popularity over the past couple decades, the average size of iTunes libraries has dramatically increased. In the early 2000s when iTunes was first gaining traction, most users only had a few hundred songs in their libraries. According to a 2005 survey, the average iTunes library size was just 1,350 songs.

Fast forward to today, and advances in storage technology have enabled people to amass much larger collections. The average iTunes user now has over 7,000 songs, with avid collectors boasting libraries in the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

On Reddit and Apple forums, users commonly report iTunes libraries between 50,000 to 100,000 songs. One Redditor claimed to have 69,000 songs taking up 288GB. As digital storage gets cheaper and streaming makes music more accessible, library sizes will likely continue growing into the future.

Max Library Size

Technically, there is no set limit on the size of an iTunes library. However, extremely large libraries can cause performance issues. According to discussions on the Apple Support Communities forum, libraries over 100,000 songs may experience sluggishness.

In a 2006 thread, users report managing iTunes libraries with over 60,000 songs without issues [1]. However, some find libraries over 100,000 songs slow down iTunes. The largest reported iTunes library had 650,000 songs [2].

So in practice, the max size seems to be in the range of 100,000 to 650,000 songs, depending on your computer’s specs. Performance tends to decline beyond this range. However, with increased computing power over time, it’s likely even larger libraries are now manageable.

Future Outlook

The evolution of digital music libraries in the future largely depends on how streaming services and digital consumption patterns develop. According to research by Goodchild (2017), librarians predicted that functionality and integration across platforms will improve in coming years [1]. They envisioned that in the next decade, students would be able to seamlessly search, browse, and access music content from a variety of sources from a single platform. Integration with multimedia, metadata, and machine learning were also cited as likely advancements. Overall, the consensus was that digital music libraries would likely evolve to provide more personalized and integrated experiences for users.