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Apple iTunes slams into top ten music retail chart

Seventh biggest US music seller, says researcher

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Apple's iTunes Music Store is now one of the US' top ten leading music retailers, market watcher NPD has claimed.

NPD based its chart on unit sales made during Q3, counting every 12 downloaded tracks as the equivalent of a CD purchase. Apple's online shop is in seventh place, up from position 14, which it held in Q3 2004.

ITMS is the only dedicated download provider in the top ten, which also includes online retailers and bricks'n'mortar stores. It's no great surprise to see US retail giants Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target in the top three slots, positions they have retained year on year.

Amazon.com likewise kept its fourth-placing, ahead of fifth-placed online retailer For Your Entertainment (FYE), up from its Q3 2004 position, ten. It pushed Circuit City into sixth place.

The highest-placed music specialist, Tower Records, was pushed from seventh place into eighth by ITMS. Sam Goody, also a specialist, fell from fifth place to ninth. Books retailer Borders took ten place, down a rung on its Q3 2004 placing.

Apple said yesterday it has shipped more than 30m iPods to date. In October, it said ITMS had sold more than 600m downloads worldwide.

It's impossible to be certain when you're basing a judgement on a single quarter's figures, but NPD's numbers suggest iTunes is winning mainstream success and that it's winning sales from music specialists rather than broader-based, price-focused retailers. ITMS, in the US at least, appears to be winning the backing of music fans first and more occasional buyers second. ®

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