iTunes Sells 25% of US Music


25% of the music sold in the US is sold by iTunes, according to information released by NPD Group. Overall music sales breakout as 35% digital and 65% CD sales, which indicates that while CD sales are still dominant, they’re losing ground rapidly to digital download sales. Last year 30% of the music units sold were digital, the year before it was 20%.

Russ Crupnick, NPD Group vice president of entertainment industry analysis observes: “with digital music sales growing at 15 to 20 percent, and CDs falling by an equal proportion, digital music sales will nearly equal CD sales by the end of 2010.”

Meanwhile, iTunes also continued to solidify its lead in the digital music arena, as consumer downloads from iTunes comprised 69 percent of the digital music market in the first half of 2009, followed by AmazonMP3 at 8 percent. Walmart leads all sellers of CDs with a 20 percent share of the physical music market, followed by Best Buy at 16 percent and Target and Amazon tied at 10 percent each.

Selling music online can be a significant revenue opportunity for online music platforms. Earlier this year it was reported that Pandora was selling about a million songs a month, to the tune of $1 million in revenue a month, $12 million per year. (Pandora’s share being some part of that figure). It’s not accidental – their platform (both web and mobile) is designed to encourage music discovery and purchases.

The key to selling music downloads is more than simply putting affiliate links on your site or player. The marketplace is moving online and that’s a real opportunity for streaming broadcasters and other online stations to sell music. Are you thinking of ways to get your audience to buy music while they are listening to your station?

— Jennifer Lane, President,, has a long career in Internet radio. Read her blog about the business of Internet radio and digital audio at .