Apple confirms leaked data: iTunes tops the charts

The iTunes Music Store generated more sales in January and February than any other music retailer in the U.S., digital or not, according to NPD.

Apple has confirmed data leaked from an internal memo showing that it has become the largest music retailer in the U.S.

iTunes gift cards may have helped boost Apple's standing in the music market.
The iTunes Music Store is now the leading music retailer in the U.S. Apple

Earlier Thursday, Ars Technica reported that certain Apple employees had received an internal e-mail with the results of a study conducted by The NPD Group. NPD initially declined to comment on the data, citing the fact that it was leaked from Apple, but Apple distributed a press release Thursday afternoon confirming the data from NPD's MusicWatch survey.

Apple didn't include its market share in the release, but Ars reported that Apple had 19 percent of overall music sales in the U.S. during January, compared with Wal-Mart's 16 percent. Apple did say that its achievement was based on two months of data, from sales in January and February of this year.

One interesting note about NPD's MusicWatch survey is that it equates 12 tracks with the sale of one CD. iTunes generates a lot of one- or two-track purchases as compared with the purveyors of physical CDs, where you either buy the whole thing or you don't. All those 99-cent transactions apparently add up.

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