updated 02:20 pm EST, Mon December 15, 2008
Amazon MP3 Market Share
Amazon MP3 has managed to glean a significant slice of the US digital music market but hasn't had a noticeable impact on iTunes, new data passed on to the WSJ by music executives suggests. Although Amazon hasn't yet published data that would confirm latest numbers, both label officials and new Billboard information point to Amazon having as little as 5 percent and as much as 10 percent of the market while Apple's store continues to have 70 percent or more. The lack of change for iTunes indicates Amazon having taken share from rivals rather than upsetting the incumbent leader.
The percentage also points to relatively little gain over Amazon's first year in the market despite advantages over others. The store launched last fall as the first real music store to offer unprotected music from all four major labels and so is one of the few to supply paid online music that can be played in iTunes and iPods as well as rival players.
While never publicly confirmed, concessions made by Universal Music Group to Amazon over unprotected songs and pricing are commonly believed to have been part of a campaign against Apple pressuring it to loosen its market share grip and allow flexible pricing. In this view, Universal has been consciously withholding less restricted music from iTunes while giving it to not just Amazon but also Walmart and other competitors in the hopes that one or more would make significant inroads.