Apple now third largest U.S. music retailer

“Apple Inc.’s digital music store iTunes is now the third-largest music retailer in the United States with 10 percent market share, overtaking in the first quarter, according to a survey released on Friday.The NPD Group report highlights the growing strength of digital music in the U.S. market as physical sales of compact discs continue to slide.Apple’s iTunes is third behind market leader Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with a 15.8 percent share, and Best Buy Co Inc. with a 13.8 percent share, according to the survey of 40,000 people aged 13 and older.Both of those retailers mostly sell music in the CD format. Online store has a 1.1 percent market share with sales of both CDs and digital Inc. dropped to fourth with a 6.7 percent share. Its sales increased but not as fast as rivals.Amazon also sells music mainly in the CD format, but last month it started selling digital music but without copy protection software such as that used by iTunes.NPD said the iTunes digital music store had benefited from sales of Apple’s iPod digital music player during the holiday season. The vast majority of digital songs and albums bought on iTunes will only play on iPods, as well as the iTunes PC application.”via