NPD: iTunes still #1 in music downloads, Amazon grows | iLounge News

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NPD: iTunes still #1 in music downloads, Amazon grows

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, April 7, 2009
News Categories: iTunes

Apple’s iTunes Store remains the dominant online music store, according to the latest data from the NPD Group. In 2008, NPD claims, 87% of digital music buyers in the United States used iTunes to download music. Amazon MP3 claimed 16% of that market during the same period, although those surveyed could select more than one store. “It used to be iTunes was first and second was practically nobody,” said NPD analyst Russ Crupnick. “I suspect a lot of consumers, some of them a little older, are still buying CDs,” he continued. “That’s going to help Amazon because they aren’t battling over every crumb with iTunes. They’ll share some customers and have some of their own and that will help the company with growth.”

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Comments

1

I’m buying more CDs than ever, especially since many catalog titles were recently reissued by Sony/BMG and WEA for as little as $4.99.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on April 7, 2009 at 12:59 PM (PDT)

2

It seems like Apple thought it had a great marketing scheme with its variable pricing scheme that would keep it #1, but most of the top tracks appear to have gone up in price on the iTunes store. I was already leaning towards Amazon due to their friendlier format and better pricing. Why would this price increase on iTunes store songs make me more inclined to buy from them, or keep them at #1?

Posted by Dave on April 7, 2009 at 1:26 PM (PDT)

3

I’ve been preferring Amazon to iTunes lately, but the “plus-izing” of content on iTunes has brought parity in quality lately, which leaves price as the main difference. Today I came across something that made me from iTunes: The new Diana Krall album is $8.99 on Amazon and $10.99 on iTunes, but on iTunes you get two bonus tracks. So for me, that makes the iTunes purchase the way to go.

Not so sure about Amazon’s “friendlier format”—I still think iTunes is the user-friendliest option for most folks.

Posted by orgel in Falls Church, VA on April 7, 2009 at 3:04 PM (PDT)

4

@Orgel: I mostly hear you. With two exceptions, it’s the exclusive content that iTunes finagles from artists and labels that has earned them what money I’ve tossed their way. iTunes has wisely leveraged their market share to a genuine advantage in music sales (they’ve even wisely stopped with so many “album only” exclusives so they can get a few bucks even if you purchased the main album elsewhere).

However, since many CDs are cheaper brand new from Amazon than iTunes’ download, and used CDs generally in the $3-$5 range with shipping included, I don’t understand the dominance of iTunes (non-U.S. sales must be a big part of it). Cheaper Amazon downloads are just one more advantage and, yes, mp3 is the “friendlier” format since there is no dedicated player in existence that doesn’t support mp3 but many (almost all Sansa, Cowon, iRiver, and Samsung) do not support AAC. While I hope for and semi-expect this to change in the next few years, for now their insistence on sticking to AAC is still a good way for Apple to keep their customers close.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on April 8, 2009 at 7:04 AM (PDT)

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