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Debunk: Apple iTunes now #1 music retailer in US? Probably not... yet.

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The typically rigorous Ars technica claims to have intercepted an internal email sent to a few Apple employees yesterday. In it, Apple claims to be the number one music retailer in the US -- a boast supported by that screenshot of an NPD MusicWatch Survey. You seeing what we're seeing? Right, the data is from January 2008 and likely reflects people cashing in those iTunes gift cards and the giddy purchases made by new iPod owners. In other words, it's a spike on the total sales picture in NPD's weekly MusicWatch survey. Then there's Apple's own claim on February 26th that it was now the number two music retailer in the US. We don't doubt the authenticity of the data shown, we're just not ready to call Apple the #1 music retailer in April based on a week's worth of data tallied back in January. Something doesn't add up.

Update: We heard back from NPD on this, the response is predictable: "the information reported is apparently based on a proprietary leaked internal memo from Apple; therefore, NPD cannot comment on it." Nevertheless, we can confirm that Apple's February claim is based on NPD Data for the full 2007 calendar year -- not an individual week or month. A sales victory for Apple in January, while significant if true, does not make them the top US music retailer "now" as claimed.

In this article: debunk, itunes, musicwatch, npd
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