NPD: After 10 years, Apple continues music download dominance in the U.S.

On April 28, 2013 Apple will celebrate the anniversary of its iTunes Store and, even after 10 years, the company continues to dominate the market in digital music downloads. According to the latest information from The NPD Group, with a fourth quarter (Q4) 2012 unit share of the paid music download market reaching 63 percent, Apple dominated the market for paid music downloads, followed by AmazonMP3 at 22 percent. Eight out of ten digital music buyers downloaded their tracks and albums from Apple’s iTunes store in Q4 2012.

According to NPD’s “Annual Music Study 2012,” 44 million Americans bought at least one song track or album download last year. That number has remained relatively stable over the past three years, despite the rapid growth of Pandora and other music-streaming options. NPD estimates that average per-buyer spending on music downloads increased 6 percent, year over year, due largely to increases in music purchasing by teens, along with an increase in the number of consumers purchasing both single song tracks and full albums.

“Since the launch of Apple’s iTunes store, digital music downloads have become the dominant revenue source for the recorded music industry and iTunes continues to be the dominant retailer,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. “There’s a belief that consumers don’t need to buy music because of streaming options, when in fact streamers are much more likely than the average consumer to buy music downloads.”

One third (38 percent) of U.S. consumers surveyed reported that it is still important to own music, and 30 percent believe that listening to albums is important. Among consumers who listened to music on Pandora and other free music-streaming services, 41 percent reported that owning music was important to them; in fact, many free streamers attributed buying more downloads to their discovery on a radio or via an on-demand service.

Data note: Information in this press release was derived from NPD’s “Annual Music Study 2012,” which is based on data from 5,400 consumer surveys, and NPD MusicWatch, which is based on 7,600 surveys. The “Annual Music Study” survey data was weighted to represent U.S. population of Internet users (age 13 and older), while MusicWatch is weighted to U.S. general population (age 13 and older). NPD’s reporting is based on an average comparison equivalency, in which single albums are equivalent to 10 music tracks. Digital music numbers reflect paid, permanent digital downloads only.

Source: NPD Group

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  1. What they did in the takeout from the full article, was to fail to mention that Apple’s share had dropped from 66% the year before, and that Amazon’s had risen from 18%.

    I’m very much an Apple person, as everyone who knows me here can attest, but this constant revision of the truth we get here is frustrating.

  2. Important to me too. Streaming will probably take over but I want to buy because I don’t want to har to pay and pay and pay to keep the access. I hate such services. Just sad that owning is some what of an illusion. People, at least in the USA can’t for some reason resell their iTunes library which is ridiculous. And you don’t really own it. Just a license to listen to it as much as you want… I can accept that but the resell part must be fixed. That criminal!

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