iTunes leaps to the top of the charts (updated)

iTunes leaps to the top of the charts (updated)

Summary: In an amazing coup, Apple has become the number one retailer of music in the United States according the latest NPD MusicWatch survey.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple
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In an amazing coup, Apple has become the number one retailer of music in the United States according the latest NPD MusicWatch survey. The results, posted on Ars Technica, show the NPD survey data for January 2008:

  • iTunes Store – 19 percent
  • Wal-Mart – 15 percent
  • Best Buy – 13 percent
  • Amazon – 6 percent
  • Target – 5 percent
  • FYE/Coconuts – 4 percent
  • Borders – 3 percent
  • Circuit City – 3 percent
  • Barnes & Noble – 2 percent
  • Rhapsody – 1 percent
  • other – 29 percent

Apple passed Amazon to become the number three music retailer in June 2007. At the end of February 2008 Apple became the number two music retailer in the US, behind Wal-Mart.

Why hasn't Apple press released the hell out out of this fact? Could the jump in January sales be skewed because of the cyclical increase of iPod sales over the holiday shopping season? Has anyone seen the February NPD numbers?

Update: Apple has issues a press release that iTunes is the Top Music Retailer in the US. "Apple today announced that the iTunes Store surpassed Wal-Mart to become the number one music retailer in the US, based on the latest data from the NPD Group. With over 50 million customers, iTunes has sold over four billion songs and features the world’s largest music catalog of over six million songs"

Topics: Mobility, Apple

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30 comments
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  • Better quality, no DRM

    Now that the record companies are letting Amazon sell DRM-free music at higher bit rates, and for lower prices than iTunes, we should see Amazon climb back up the list, and iTunes will begin to suffer.
    jorjitop
    • I agree...

      I love iTunes from a software standpoint (amazon's search is pathetic), but IMHO Amazon is a FAR better deal than iTunes these days.

      Now, if Jobs would get off his butt and offer an iTunes subscription service (at a competitive price) AND get rid of all the DRM then things would change back to iTunes favor. I would sign up in a heartbeat.

      Finally, I'm not sure I agree that 256k MP3 is better than 192k AAC. I prefer AAC quality wise.
      BitTwiddler
    • Depends, and don't forget iTunes also has DRM free music on it.

      Depends on whether or not Apple changes their fixed price policy for music. If they don't, then I agree that Amazon will climb the ladder.

      Don't forget: Apple actually started the DRM-free trend with Steve Job's letter and iTunes Plus. If it weren't for Apple making a stand on DRM, I seriously doubt Amazon would be into the DRM free digital music business.

      http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/
      CobraA1
      • I disagree

        It's the fixed-price model that makes iTunes appealing. No
        one likes to find out that the tune they bought from amazon
        for $.89 was also available for $.79 on a different album
        (which does happen).
        frgough
        • Well, iTunes isn't exactly cheap.

          Well, at $.99, iTunes isn't exactly cheap. And the same thing can kinda happen with albums - unlike the individual songs, entire albums don't have a fixed price.

          So there are still some price issues with iTunes. Especially when you compare them to other online music stores.
          CobraA1
    • AAC is Superior

      Apple offers 256kbs AAC for the DRM free stuff, which will blow away 256kbps MP3. The 192kbps AAC is about equal to 256kbps MP3.
      Stuka
    • Wishful thinking.......

      Apple gives the customer what they want. There is not
      evidence except your desires that point to Amazon gaining
      on iTunes. The proof to date is that Apple and iTunes is an
      answer for a large chunk of the music buying public. There
      is not such that Amazon has figured out the better mouse
      trap at least to date.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Creepy Enthusiasm.

    Sorry to be a buzzkill, but I've never understood this thing where the customer pats themselves on the back for the accomplishments of the corporation that they are paying.

    I could understand getting excited for a (fictional) pricedrop on Macbooks because as consumers then you see the benefit. But honestly, what's with high-fiving each other over sales rankings of music or a .04% marketshare increase of Macs? Those are numbers celebrated by the corporate marketing department or stock holders. Not the individual consumer because the only thing we had to do with those numbers is that we overpaid to inflate them.
    Urkel
    • Your comment only makes sense if...

      ...all iTunes purchases are made from Macs. Since more iTunes customers use PCs than Macs, the correlation you draw is inaccurate.
      philpenn
      • It makes sense

        The comment:

        "what's with high-fiving each other over sales rankings of music [b]or[/b] a .04% marketshare increase of Macs" (emphasis mine)

        The point is valid, even if you don't agree.
        laura.b
    • Drop the marxism.

      Let me give you a basic definition of a fair price.

      A price that both buyer and seller were satisfied with at the
      time of transaction.

      A fair price is determined by the buyer and seller, not by
      you.

      Everyone who bought an Apple computer paid a fair price
      for it. Or they wouldn't have bought it. You moral opinings
      on the matter are irrelevant.
      frgough
    • In anything why choose one over the other?

      Sports? One team over the other? They are all "PRO" from
      away for the very most part. They will pick up and leave
      over the best offer from their hated enemy and sing the
      praises of the very team they swore contempt for the last
      year?

      Auto manufacturers? Why be loyal and happy with a given
      companies progress?

      The list goes on and on. It's human nature for the most
      part. You find something that works for you.... you want it
      to succeed perhaps out of your own selfish desire to know
      that when you go to purchase again that thing weather it
      be a car or computer will be there for you?

      Oh and I do own a share of Apple...:P

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Just my opinion

    I can see no reason for this change other than the software's proprietary tie in to iPod. While you can use a lot of other services to load your iPod, since you must use iTunes' software. For many less technical users, having iTunes software equals using iTunes store since they are not as aware of limiting factors like DRM. As users become more educated, and I hope we are all working to educate them, I would look to see sites that do not limit user's rights through DRM to take the lead.
    philpenn
    • This argument doesn't wash any longer...

      With Amazon offering MP3's without DRM, the ONLY reason one HAS to use iTunes is to load the Amazon purchased MP3's onto the iPod (which is what I do).

      The surveys don't count iTunes use. It counts _purchases_.

      I do agree Amazon MP3 is a much better deal right now however.
      BitTwiddler
      • Just make sure you do your shopping

        Amazon will sell the same song for different prices on
        different albums. Also, they charge more for new releases.

        Don't underestimate the appeal of fixed pricing.
        frgough
  • Not surprised. iTunes is the better store

    The best media store and user experience wins and iTunes is the best at both. Combined with the best music player just makes it an unbeatable combination.

    I'm still using Windows XP and iTunes/iPOD as the only Apple technology in the household. I do see a likelihood of buying into Apple's iTV.

    Apple is just breaking into the Windows environment with great XP compatible products and applications that will lead to more and more switchers. They just have a better product.
    Prognosticator
    • Glad your are happy, but...

      ...I could not disagree more. I hate iTunes SW Interface. I really HATE the itunes store's DRM ridden product. I see not redeeming qualities in either of them. I am glad you are happy, but you could not pay me to take their crapware if I have another choice.
      philpenn
      • Not even Apple can make everyone happy....

        Different strokes for different folks as they say. I've noticed
        a lot of people like "features" regardless of their
        usefulness or difficulty of access. I myself don't find a
        value in a feature that I don't actually want or need. Nor
        does even a useful feature seem as such if it's difficult to
        access and use. It's next to useless too me. Yet some
        people do so love the features list. They almost drool over
        the idea of yet another feature in their given product. I
        don't understand why but I do realize that they do exist.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
    • Totally agree, but...

      From a PRICE and useability (non-DRM) standpoint, Amazon is the better deal for purchases.

      Amazon's search system is the absolute pits for finding music.
      BitTwiddler
      • I don't think most BUYERS care about the DRM

        My guess is that people who actually
        buy from any source don't care about
        the DRM. They're buying for their own
        enjoyment and don't intend to move the
        music around on their own devices. I'd
        even guess that the vast majority don't
        burn a cd so they have a backup off the
        computer - just as people don't backup
        other computer files.

        There are always exceptions, but most
        people just buy the song (s), put it on
        their ipod, and are happy with that.

        I don't own an ipod or any music player
        and have never visited any online music
        store. My observations are based on
        hearing from friends and acquaintances.
        j.m.galvin