Billboard notes that iTunes in 2009 further cemented its lead as the top retailer of Music in the US with a 26.65% marketshare, up from 21.42% last year. Walmart, the number two music retailer in the US, saw its marketshare drop from 14.99% in 2008 to 12.54% in 2009. The figures were compiled by Billboard’s Ed Christman who interviewed key distribution executives from entities, that when taken together, comprise about 90% of the US market.
Christman attributes iTunes’ gains to the introduction of variable pricing which finally gave record labels permission to charge up to $1.29 per song. Previously, Apple was steadfast in its position that each and every song should sell for $0.99, though they were eventually forced to concede that point in exchange for licensing rights for over the air music downloads.
Meanwhile, Walmart’s continued decline is most likely the result of their decision to cut back on the amount of floor space dedicated to CDs. BestBuy, which checks in as the third top Music retailer in the US, also cut back on floor space dedicated to CD’s, and saw their share of music sales slip from 10.74% down to 8.72%.
Indeed, the only other retailer that saw year over year gains was Amazon, whose share of the music market went up from 4.93% in 2008 to 7.07% in 2009. Keep in mind that this figure takes into account sales of both MP3s and hardcopy CDs. Separately, Amazon’s MP3 store did well enough to account for a 1.3% marketshare, good enough to place it in the top 10 if it were measured on its own.
Apple was first crowned the top US music retailer back in April of 2008, and they haven’t looked back since. And as digital sales continue to increase, to the detriment of retail outlets like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, Apple’s marketshare is only bound to increase in the coming years.