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10 years on, iTunes still rules the music downloads roost

Nearly 10 years after it first launched, Apple's iTunes Store continues to dominate the market for digital music downloads, according to a new report from the NPD Group.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, iTunes grabbed 63 per cent share of the paid music download market, followed by Amazon MP3 with 22 per cent. Moreover, eight out of 10 digital music buyers downloaded their tracks and albums from iTunes during that period.

"Since the launch of Apple's iTunes store, digital music downloads have become the dominant revenue source for the recorded music industry and iTunes continues to be the dominant retailer," Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement.

"There's a belief that consumers don't need to buy music because of streaming options, when in fact streamers are much more likely than the average consumer to buy music downloads."

The firm estimated that spending on music downloads increased 6 per cent year over year, largely due to an increase in purchasing by teens. Data in the report comes from two separate surveys of 5,400 and 7,600 consumers.

According to the report, a third of US consumers said it is important to own music and 30 per cent said that listening to albums is important. 41 per cent of those who listen to music on Pandora and other free music-streaming services said that owning music was important.