iTunes Strongest Digital Music Brand: Report

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Ars Technica has a report on a new Ipsos study that shows iTunes is widening its lead in the digital music market at the expense of other top brands—cementing its newfound status as the number one music retailer in the U.S. in consumer minds as well.

The report found that 82% of downloaders—not general consumers, it should be noted—are aware of iTunes, while 76% are aware of Napster. All other brands (Yahoo, Wal-Mart, MySpace, etc.) fell far short in that test, and often couldn’t be remembered without outside help.

Furthermore, “when it comes to who is considered the best, iTunes again came out with a strong lead,” the report said. “50 percent of downloaders identified iTunes as the best fee-based digital music service in 2007—a nine percentage point increase from 2006, and a 17-point increase from 2005 (the iTunes Store was launched in 2005).”

This shows that despite the recent surge in DRM-free music services like Amazon, which offer better quality MP3 files from all four major labels, the other contenders still have a ways to go. And it gives Apple an opportunity to quickly settle up with the other three labels aside from EMI, and begin selling DRM-free tracks from them as well (via iTunes Plus).