Apple’s iTunes Beats Wal-Mart, Now #1 Music Stre

Apr 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Digital Music

Apple’s iTunes has passed Wal-Mart to become the #1 source for music in the US, according to an Apple email obtained by Ars Technica.

If this turns out to be accurate, it is a milestone for the digital distribution of music.

The news was announced in an e-mail sent this afternoon to some Apple employees, a copy of which was seen by Ars Technica. It includes a screenshot of an Excel file showing the top ten music retailers in the US for January 2008, and Apple is at the top of the list. The iTunes Store leads the pack with 19 percent, Wal-Mart (which includes the brick-and-mortar stores as well as its online properties) is second with 15 percent, and Best Buy is third with 13 percent. Amazon is a distant fourth at 6 percent, trailed by the likes of Borders, Circuit City, and Barnes & Noble. Rhapsody is in the tenth slot with 1 percent.

The fact that a digital-only retailer has ascended to the top of the sales charts is not unexpected, but it does demonstrate just how much the music landscape has changed since the beginning of the decade. The NPD Group has been tracking a “sharp increase” in digital downloads over the past several months as physical sales dry up. According to NPD’s research, 48 percent of US teens didn’t buy a single CD in 2007, compared to 38 percent in 2006.

In June of 2007, we reported that Apple had become the third largest music retailer. By February, iTunes was the number two music retailer.

Expect music retailers to continue to cut back on the space that they allocate to CDs.

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4 Responses to “Apple’s iTunes Beats Wal-Mart, Now #1 Music Stre”

  1. julien says:

    i love how everyone’s questioning the validity of this now that they’re #1, but nobody questioned them getting to 4, 3, or 2. there’s unquestionably something special about the first place, but come on! it’s kind of hypocritical to trust every previous statistic, but not this one. 🙂

  2. James Lewin says:

    Julien – we questioned it because it wasn’t an official announcement from Apple.

    We’ve posted a followed quoting their official announcement.

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