So how is Amazon’s MP3 store doing since it opened for business last September — years after Apple locked up the digital music market with iTunes?
We’ve been asking this question for quite a while, and still have bupkis for data. We’ve been relying on anecdotal evidence, like the label executive who told us yesterday that his people are encouraged by Amazon sales, but not overly excited. Our gut: If Amazon (AMZN) was really doing well, they’d tell us. And until they do, we’re inclined to believe they’re not crushing this one.
But in the absence of actual sales data, we’ll take any scraps we can get. Yesterday research firm NPD caused a stir with a report that described Amazon’s store as an “initial success” that offered “new hope for digital music growth”. The takeaway: Via a panel, NPD determined that just 10% of Amazon’s digital music customers had bought tracks from iTunes (AAPL) — so Amazon’s sales represented a new market.
But how big is that market? NPD also estimates that Apple’s sales are “still 10 times that of Amazon MP3”. Apple has been selling about a billion songs every six months, and that’s about how long Amazon has been selling MP3s for. So using that maths, you’d peg Amazon’s sales at 100 million tracks. Alas, that maths won’t work — because the 10x multiple only applies toAmerican sales, NPD’s Russ Crupnick tells us.
If we knew Apple’s US/International split, we could do some very very rough maths: 1 billion songs divided by 6 months times (US share of iTunes sales, expressed as a perentage) divided by 10 = absurdly rough guesstimate of monthly Amazon downloads. Anyone want to hazard a guess?
Until then, we’re back where we started: We know that Amazon is selling more music than it sold last year (zero) and less than Apple sells (a lot).
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