Apple iTunes Outpaces P2P Services

According to information by NPD Research, Apple’s iTunes tied with P2P (peer-to-peer) service LimeWire as the second most popular digital music service in March of this year. Both iTunes and LimeWire were used by 1.7 million households. Topping both of these products for March was WinMX which was used by more than 2.1 million households to download music. Napster and Real Networks both placed in the top ten along with P2P services iMesh and Kazaa.

“One of the music industry’s questions has been when will paid download stores compete head-to-head with free P2P download services,” said Russ Crupnick, president of the NPD Group’s Music and Movies division. “That question has now been answered. iTunes is more popular than nearly any P2P service, and two other paid digital music offerings have also gained a level of critical mass. These digital download stores appear to have created a compelling and economically viable alternative to illegal file sharing.”

The study shows that users are willing to pay for music as much as they download it for free using P2P services. NPD reports that older users are more likely to be deterred by the recording industry’s anti-piracy litigation efforts and thus are more likely to pay for music.

The following list shows the top ten digital music services, based on the number of households acquiring a digital song in March 2005:

1. WinMX (2.1 million)

2. iTunes (1.7 million)

3. LimeWire (1.7 million)

4. Kazaa

5. BearShare

6. Ares Galaxy

7. Napster

8. Morpheus

9. Real Player Store

10. iMesh

In related news, the RIAA is suing hundreds of students for distributing music across the school’s network. The RIAA is also suing 30 campus’s for distributing music across their Internet 2 network.

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