iTunes named top US music seller with 26.7% of the market

By on May 21, 2010, 1:47 PM
According to figures released by, Apple's iTunes store had vice-like grip on digital music sales in 2009, which further chipped away at brick-and-mortar shipments. Digital sales reportedly accounted for 35.5% of the industry in 2009, up from 31.6% 2008, while CDs and other physical formats comprised 49.3% of sales, falling from 57.5% in the year prior.

Apple's chunk of the digital market grew from 21.4% in 2008 to 26.7% last year, or about double it's 2007 share of 12.7%, making it the top music retailer in the US. Walmart followed with a 12.5% cut, falling from 15% in 2008. Similarly, Best Buy's digital share fell from 10.7% to 8.7%. Amazon grew in both digital and physical segments, with the former jumping from 4.9% to 7.1% and the latter from 4.2% to 5.8%.

Once touted as the industry's next big thing, mobile music sales flopped in 2009. Combined, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and mobile content provider Zed represented a meager 4.9% of the market, down 1.7% on-year. Billboard attributed the decline to fading ringtone downloads as well as lower ringtone prices.

User Comments: 9

Got something to say? Post a comment
PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I wonder how much of this is due to iPhone / iPod / iPad penetration versus decent pricing and convenient access.

They could earn all my music purchases if they dropped the DRM and added DVD-A formatted downloads.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

People are gonna pay a dollar for one song. Millions spent on market research can pretty much be boiled down to this one statement. They figured that out and implemented it before most and so they're in a good place. Their integration with one of the most popular music players of all time didn't hurt either.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well, lets see: Yesterday I walked into a store which sells music, underwear, and orange juice. I found hundreds of CD's, with very little order to how they were placed on the shelves. I looked for 10 minutes, which is exactly 9 minutes too long, and didn't find the disc that I wanted to buy, and walked out.

Compare that to iTunes where I can type what I want into a search field, and get results in about 10 seconds.

Someday I think that we won't be able to find music in stores any longer. It's kind of sad really. There's something to be said for a physical medium that can be played anywhere.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

9Nails has hit the "Nail" on the head, its how easy it is to find the song you want and it is just one-click away from being yours.

PanicX: what DRM are you refering to? as the DRM is no longer on any song you purchase?

The one thing I wish they could include is better support for music videos and films. At the moment you have to watch the film or music video on either the iPod or computer but it would be great if they gave the fuctionality to burn your purchased film, if its rented then fair enough you shouldn't be able to, but when you've purchased a film for £10.99 (99P more than a hard copy from a local store) it should be a given right to burn it.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I was under the impression that the m4a files downloaded from iTunes were DRM protected. But after reading this article: Macworld apparently this was changed last March. Which is really great news, if old.

Now all I need is audio files that support Surround Sound (DVD-A) that are preferrably lossless.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yeah I do wish you could download the actual music in lossless quality as I recently brought some extremely awesome headphones made from Ultimate Ears (Just look for any reviews and with the exception of their cheap models they are some of the best) and I can actually hear the difference from an iTunes brought 256Kbps MP3 compared to a Ripped CD at apple lossless quality.

Maybe they should change the system so that you download a lossless file and then the user can choose if they want it converted to MP3 or something like that?

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

an iTunes brought 256Kbps MP3
Actually they're in AAC format which at the same bitrate sounds better than an MP3 file.

I myself would also like to see a lossless option, most of my music currently is in that format but that would be an added charge for Apple alone as they recoup the expenses to run the store out of the 20% they keep from the songs' sales. It's a known fact that the iTunes store itself doesn't turn a big profit as it is so adding extra charges will only lower the margins.

windmill007 said:

I like nothing less than 320K VBR MP3.. and itunes sucks

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

320K VBR
VBR means it doesn't have a set bitrate so 320 VBR is an oxymoron.

iTunes is far from being perfect & is clearly very bloated for a music player but it works very well as a music manager. Its Genius functions combined with my very large music library also make it an irreplaceable piece of software for me.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.