Quantrell writes "A leaked e-mail shows that Apple hit the #1 spot for music sales in January. The article speculates that consumers cashing in their holiday gift cards may have played a role; but of course Wal-Mart and the other retailers sold gift cards too. The news is a mixed bag for the record labels. 'For the music industry, there is a dark side to Apple's ascension to the top of the charts. Buying patterns for digital downloads are different, as customers are far more likely to cherry pick a favorite track or two from an album than purchase the whole thing. In contrast, brick-and-mortar sales are predominantly high-margin CDs.'" We recently discussed Wal-Mart's role in the music business, back when they were selling nearly 20% of US music. For January Apple was at 19% and Wal-Mart at 15%.
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