CDs remain the most popular music format in the United States, however, they could be overtaken by digital downloads as soon as 2010, according to a new report by market research firm The NPD Group.
Digital downloads accounted for 35 percent of music sales in the US, compared to 30 percent the previous year and just 20 percent in 2007.
“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, vice president of entertainment industry analysis, The NPD Group. “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.”
Apple’s iTunes store is the largest US music retailer with 25 percent of all music sales completed on the platform and a 69 percent share in the digital download market.
Walmart is the largest retailer of physical music with a 20 percent share.
“The growth of legal digital music downloads, and Apple’s success in holding that market, has increased iTunes’s overall strength in the retail music category,” said Crupnick. “But the importance of the big box retailers shouldn’t be dismissed, as long as the majority of music consumers continue to buy CDs.”