Apple is #1 (in music)

Ars Technica is reporting that the NPD Group’s numbers are out! Apple is the number one distributor of music. They sell more music than anyone else, well, besides those “others” who are always throwing a wrench in the plan.

Apple #1
Credit: Ars Technica

Apple was in third place in just June of 2007. They have been steadily climbing upward since then. Amazon.com is in 4th place, even with their cheaper, higher quality, DRM-free music.

It seems that now would be a dangerous time for Apple to make many changes to their business model. Doing anything that is not “fair” to competition could land them in hot water. Being number one is a dangerous, yet good place to be.

I would say that if Apple does pursue the subscription music model now that they are number one, eMusic is likely to sue them for anti-competitive practices. Being number one will hurt Apple more than anything else right now. When they were number two, they could always claim they were just trying to carve out their share. Now, any increase or change in practices could easily be seen as squeezing more out of everyone else.

Update: Apple officially announced that it was the number 1 retailer in online music today. Money quote:

“We launched iTunes less than five years ago, and it has now become the number one music retailer in the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We are thrilled, and would like to thank all of our customers for helping us reach this incredible milestone.”

In other words, “Thanks, iTunes users for lining our pockets!” Congrats to Apple.

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