You would never be able to tell, but Ars Techina has obtained documents (read: an e-mail sent to its employees) proclaiming iTunes as the largest music retailer in the U.S., passing even Wal-Mart. As of January 2008, iTunes now accounts for 19 percent of music sales here, to Wal-Mart’s 15 percent and Best Buy’s 13 percent. (AmazonMP3 is fourth.) Those numbers include online stores, too.
Some other interesting notes from the relevant NPD numbers: 48 percent of American teens didn’t buy a single CD in 2007 (38 percent didn’t in 2006). The last CD I bought was Above & Beyond’s Tri-State when Tower Records went out of business. I think I payed $8. Also, music downloads accounted for 30 percent of all music sales in January.
In short, expect a press release from the RIAA shortly claiming that artists starve when you don’t buy CDs.