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All Hail iTunes

CUPERTINO, CA (Hypebot) – Apple's iTunes dominance of digital music sales continues to grow according to a new NPD Group study.

The market leader's share of online music sales rose to 66.2%, from 63.2% in the the third quarter of the year while Amazon's share rose to 13.3% from 11%  a year earlier. But record labels say the real numbers may be much worse.

Distribution executives at major record labels told the Wall Street Journal that the disparity between iTunes and Amazon is often wider. Amazon accounts for just 6% to 10% of digital music sales on many weeks with Apple closer to 90%.

Deep discounts on Amazon, like the $5 Daily Deals are having some impact.  But Pete Baltaxe, the director of Amazon's digital music store, wouldn't comment on how the promotion works.  "If you look across the board, we have been very competitive on price," said Mr. Baltaxe. The daily deal is "a great way to get people excited about trying Amazon."

Some artists and others in the industry see Amazon's discounting differently. "Been working for nine months on something that will sell for 3.99 on Amazon MP3," the independent rock group Fleet Foxes wrote last month on its Twitter feed. "That's about the price of a whoopie cushion."