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iTunes: 10 years on, still going strong

18 Apr 13

Apple will celebrate the anniversary of iTunes next week, as it continues to lead the market in digital music downloads.

A decade since launching the store on April 28, 2003, the tech giant is still going strong, account for 63% of paid music downloads during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Well ahead of nearest rival AmazonMP3 at 22%, research group NPD says eight out of ten digital music buyers downloaded their tracks and albums from Apple’s iTunes store during the period.

The Annual Music Study 2012 also says a whopping 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 however, despite the rapid growth of Pandora and other music-streaming options.

“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,” says Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis, NPD.

Buy or stream?

Interestingly, 38% of consumers surveyed reported that it is still important to own music, with 30% believing that listening to albums is important.

Among consumers who listened to music on Pandora and other free music-streaming services, 41% 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.

“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," Crupnick says.

Do you prefer to own or buy music? To read our exclusive interview with Pandora’s ANZ managing director Jane Huxley for her thoughts on the future of digital music, check out the May issue of NetGuide here – on sale May 1.

Do you prefer to rent or buy music? Tell us your thoughts below

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