Apple passes Amazon to become the #3 US music retailer

Things must seem pretty rosy in Cupertino -- just a week before the mega-hyped launch of you-know-what, market research group NPD's quarterly survey shows Apple has passed Amazon to become the third biggest music retailer in the US. This isn't the biggest of surprises, since Steve himself predicted that the iTunes Store would overtake Amazon at the Showtime event back in September, but the leap to #3 is a little unexpected, since Apple also outpaced Target last quarter. iTunes is now rocking a 10% market share, just behind Wal-Mart at 16% and Best Buy at 14%, and while we don't expect to see it pass those two giants anytime soon, we'd bet that uptick in DRM-free sales has got the iTMS crew at Apple licking their chops.