Apple Claims 80% Share of UK Online Music Market (UPDATE)

Apple Computer announced Wednesday that the iTunes Music Store has an 80% market share of permanently owned digital music sales in Great Britain, making it the dominant online location for downloads.

The announcement comes less than a week after Virgin and HMV launched independent digital music services in the U.K. for Windows users only. Apple said the results come from the Official UK Charts Company (OCC), who is responsible for collecting and managing the UKis official music and video charts.

Omar Maskatiya, director of charting at OCC, confirmed Appleis report to The Mac Observer, but said Apple 80% share is for permanently owned digital music downloads only and does not include subscription-based downloads from services such as Napster.

"That (80%) market share is not for the overall digital music market," Mr. Maskatiya said. "It is for a particular segment. In this case, permanently owned digital downloads only."

Mr. Maskatiya said OCC is not presently collecting data of subscription-based downloads in the U.K.

?We?re thrilled that music fans in the UK have made the iTunes Music Store their number one choice for purchasing digital music,? said Eddy Cue, Apple?s vice president of iTunes, said in a prepared statement obtained by TMO.

Apple said it now has over over 1.7 million songs available for download in its UK catalogue over 1,000 independentrecord labels, and 10,000 audiobooks. Apple launched its UK iTMS service on June 15, 2004.

The company has also announced it is making Jamie Cullum?s new album available for pre-order now before it ?digitally ships? on September 13. Fans who pre-order the new release will receive a deluxe version, which includes the album, video, digital booklet and an exclusive live EP from a performance at the legendary Ronnie Scott?s Jazz Club in London.