The countdown to a milestone begins…

APPLE are planning to give away 50 iPODS to celebrate 100 million songs purchased in the iTUNES music store.

The company claim that by tomorrow (July 2) there will have been 95 million downloads from the iTunes Music Store worldwide.

To mark the occasion, Apple will begin the countdown to 100 million songs by giving away 50 20GB iPods – one to the purchaser of each 100,000th song downloaded between 95 million and 100 million songs.

The person who manages to download the 100 millionth song will receive a 17-inch PowerBook computer, a 40GB iPod and a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes songs.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: “As we approach the unprecedented milestone of 100 million legally downloaded songs, we want to thank our customers who have made the iTunes Music Store such a stunning success.”

In the UK legal downloading services are getting more and more popular. For the ultimate guide to the best legal services, see this week’s NME, out now.