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One in four songs sold in the US are done so via Apple’s iTunes store, according to a new report.

NPD Group's MusicWatch division said today that while audio CDs remain the most popular format among music consumers, digital tracks notched up 35 per cent of all songs sold in the first half of 2009.

That’s a 15 per cent leap in sales compared with 2007 figures, and a five per cent jump on last year’s numbers.

NPD said that the iTunes store dominated digital music sales, accounting for 25 per cent of all songs sold in the US in the first six months of this year.

In 2008 it pulled in 21 per cent of all digital music sales, while in 2007 it grabbed 14 per cent of the market.

US retail giant Walmart takes second place in digital music sales, according to NPD. It raked in 14 per cent from downloads sold via its website as well as in store.

But iTunes outshines all other digital music retailers, where Apple leads the market by a hefty 69 per cent ahead of its rivals, said NPD.

Amazon’s MP3 store lags a long way behind the iTunes behemoth, gobbling up just eight per cent of the digital music market.

NPD garnered its findings from US consumers aged 13 and above, who reported their purchases of CDs, digital music tracks and albums sold a-la-carte, and wireless over-the-air transactions, excluding ringtones.

It didn't reveal how many US folk took part in the survey, however. NPD also overlooked the impact illegal file sharing has on digital music sales. ®

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