August 07, 2008 by Arlen Schweiger
No brick-and-mortar store sales, no problem. That continues to be the case for Apple’s incredibly successful iTunes store—the downloads-only purchases and reach of the iPod and iPhone made it the top U.S. retailer for music sales earlier this year, and it has stayed put there for the first half of 2008.
The NPD group has detailed its latest report, with Apple maintaining the top spot ahead of No. 2 Wal-Mart and No. 3 Best Buy.
The No. 4 spot saw a switch, however, as Amazon climbed ahead of No. 5 Target. The Amazon MP3 store, which offers predominantly 256 kbps downloads that are DRM-free (yep, you can play them on your iTunes and iPods), has been open for not quite a year but its effects certainly seem to be paying off.
“We expect Apple will consolidate its lead in the retail music market, as CD sales continue to slow,” says Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Amazon’s CD buyers tend to be older, so they haven’t abandoned the CD format to the extent seen in the average music buyer. Plus Amazon’s successful introduction of its digital download store will help the company improve its position in the future.”
No, CDs are still around despite the rapid upswing in downloading. Apple got a huge jump over companies in that world and really nailed down the ease and convenience. Amazon is beginning to find its own audience, and on the other end of the audio spectrum has even been part of the vinyl resurgence by offering an LP section of its store.
With rumors flying around of Apple making more iPod announcements next month, digital downloads will continue to be the top story when it comes to music sales. And the consumers keep winning, too, with ever-increasing options to buy them.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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