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music measureHow much weight does the iTunes music store have to throw around? A ton according to new data released from market tracking firm NPD.

Measuring unit sale in the first half of 2009, NPD MusicWatch reports Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) music store now accounts for a quarter of U.S. music sales. That’s not a quarter of digital sales, it’s 25 percent of everything.

During the first half of 2009, while CD sales continued to erode, digital music sales grew to 35% of the market, up from 20 percent in 2007 and 30 percent in 2008. According to Russ Crupnick , NPD’s vice president of entertainment industry analysis,

with digital music sales growing at 15 to 20 percent, and CDs falling by an equal proportion, digital music sales will nearly equal CD sales by the end of 2010.

iTunes’ lead in the digital market is massive. Apple owned 69 percent of the digital music market in the first half of 2009. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), in a very distant second, held 8 percent.

Cross-market (combining digital sales and physical CD sales), Walmart (NYSE:WMT) was the market’s number two retailer with a 14 percent share compared to Apple’s 25 percent stake. Walmart was the leading retailer of physical music (CDs) with 20 percent of that segment. Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) sold 16 percent of all CDs, followed by Amazon and Target (NYSE:TGT) which each sold 10%.

Last year, iTunes was responsible for 21 percent of US music sales. In 2007, the store’s share was 14 percent.

Source: iTunes Sells 25% of U.S. Music