NICK BILTON NY Time 04/22/13
Amazon is helping Apple celebrate the 10th anniversary of iTunes by gaining momentum on music downloads in the United States.
According to a new study released by NPD Group, the market research firm, in 2012 Amazon accounted for 22 percent of paid music downloaded in the United States. This is up from 15 percent in 2011.
The report, “Annual Music Study 2012,” found that Apple still dominates the music download world, with 63 percent of all paid downloads taking place through iTunes.
Amazon’s rise seems to be attributed to updates of the company’s color Kindle Fire tablets last year. These tablets are capable of playing music directly purchased from AmazonMP3, the online retailer’s digital music service. The Kindle Fire provides access to more than 18 million movies, TV shows, magazines and books, according to Amazon.
Although Amazon does not share numbers about sales of its Kindle Fire devices, calculations by Forrester Research estimate that Amazon sold close to five million Kindle Fire tablets by the end of last year. In comparison, Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads.
Although there has been huge growth in customers using streaming music services, including Pandora, Rdio and Spotify, NPD Group reported that the number of music downloads in the United States has remained relatively unaffected by these new music outlets.
“NPD estimates that average per-buyer spending on music downloads increased 6 percent, year over year, due largely to increases in music purchasing by teens, along with an increase in the number of consumers purchasing both single song tracks and full albums,” the company said.
The report said 44 million Americans purchased at least one song or album last year.