Apple Keeps Music Sales Lead

The latest NPD MusicWatch figures confirm Apple's iTunes Store's U.S. achievement of surpassing music sales at Wal-Mart earlier this year weren't a blip, but a trend.

Figures reflecting U.S. music sales for the first six months of this year show iTunes remains the leading U.S. music retailer, and indicate Amazon to now be climbing the charts.

Amazon rose from fifth place to fourth primarily for two reasons: first, online CD sales aren't dipping as fast as those at high street stores, and because Amazon launched its digital music store, Amazon.mp3.

"We expect Apple will consolidate its lead in the retail music market, as CD sales continue to slow," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group.

Top five music retailers U.S.:

1. iTunes

2. Wal-Mart

3. Best Buy

4. Amazon

5. Target.

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