The NPD group reports that Apple's iTunes continues to be the #1 music seller in the U.S. for the first half of 2008. Here's a quote from Businessweek...
The latest NPD figures on music sales are out for the first half of 2008, and as you might expect, Apple’s iTunes is still in the top spot, but what’s interesting is who’s in fourth place: Amazon. Here’s the top five:
2) Wal-Mart (includes Walmart, Walmart.com, Walmart Music Downloads)
3) Best Buy (includes Best Buy, Bestbuy.com, Best Buy Digital Music Store)
4) Amazon (Amazon.com, AmazonMP3.com)
5) Target (Target and Target.com)
What I find interesting, and what no one seems to be mentioning so far, is that Amazon's "DRM-less" music seems to hold little draw. They've risen one place from 5th to 4th (which includes their physical CD sales) but the change is hardly dramatic. Even more surprising was this...
Last year, NPD made a case that Amazon, given its somewhat broader consumer base might pose a long term threat to iTune’s dominance. It said that 64% of Amazon customers are male, versus 44% for iTunes. But Amazon was weaker among teens.
So even Teens, supposedly the most DRM adverse of demographics, don't seem to be willing to suffer the most minor inconvenience (using Amazon's downloader) to get DRM free tracks.
In fact, if you count the fact that Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target (the other 3 in the top 5) all sell physical copies of music (which can be ripped DRM free) it seems people are actually going out of their way to choose the one music provider that sells DRM enabled music.
I'm not arguing for DRM but I think the above numbers go a long way to proving that people just don't care. DRM is an issue where a very small minority making a lot of noise has created an issue that seems bigger than it is.
In the end it's not freedom to copy your music but convenience that seems to be king among consumers. As pointed out above, it really isn't even that big of an inconvenience to use Amazon's download service. But DRM just seems to be a non-issue among most consumers. As the author of the Businessweek article says...
I have yet to buy an MP3 from Amazon mainly because I haven’t run into anything I wanted to buy digitally that I couldn’t already get from iTunes.
So DRM apparently isn't even an issue in his mind. Again, I'm not pro-DRM and for the record I buy all the music I can from Amazon but it's interesting to compare the average person's concerns to those of the tech crowd and realize just how different they are.
Given the quoted numbers and the seemingly blasé attitude of the Businessweek author one has to wonder if DRM is even on the average person's radar.