NPD: CD Still King, For Now


Port Washington, N.Y. - Paid digital music downloads accounted for 35 percent of music tracks purchased by U.S. consumers in the first half, up from 20 percent in all of 2007 and 30 percent in all of 2008, The NPD Group's MusicWatch survey found.

CDs comprised 65 percent of all tracks sold in the first half of 2009, NPD said. Digital sales include downloads to the PC and over-the-air full-track downloads to cellphones, but not cellphone ringtone downloads. The survey also excludes music-subscription services.

To reach its conclusion, NPD defined a full-length CD as offering 12 tracks.

"Many people are surprised that the CD is still the dominant music-delivery format, given the attention to digital music and the shrinking retail footprint for physical products," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry VP. "But 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."

In music downloads, Apple's iTune store expanded its lead, accounting for 69 percent of the digital music market in the first half, followed by AmazonMP3 at 8 percent. In physical CD sales, Walmart leads with a 20 percent share, followed by Best Buy at 16 percent, and Target and Amazon with 10 percent each.

 Click the following link for the NPD chart on Digital Music Sales

When physical and digital sales are combined, Apple's iTunes leads in the U.S. with 25 percent of music units sold, up from 21 percent in 2008 and 14 percent in 2007. Walmart (including Walmart,, Walmart Music Downloads) stayed in second place with 14 percent of music volume sold at their stores and Web sites. Best Buy ranked third. 

In its survey, NPD tracked U.S. consumers ages 13 and older, who reported their purchases of physical product (CDs), digital music and wireless over-the-air transactions - excluding ringtones.


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