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NPD: Apple Tops First Half Retail Music Sales

5 Aug, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Apple Inc.'s iTunes platform continued as top music retailer through June, again besting former perennial No. 1 Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to consumer surveys conducted by The NPD Group.

The survey, which combined both music CD sales and music downloads for the first six months of 2008, ranked Best Buy Co. Inc. No. 3, followed by Amazon, including AmazonMP3.com, and Target Corp.

NPD's data reflects the ongoing consumer shift from physical CDs to digital music, as iTunes maintained its leadership position reached earlier this year.

The research firm said Amazon rose from fifth place to fourth primarily for two reasons: first, online CD sales have seen less erosion than CD sales at brick-and-mortar stores; and second, Amazon launched its digital music store, Amazon.mp3, last year.

“We expect Apple will consolidate its lead in the retail music market as CD sales continue to slow,” said 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.”

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