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iTunes More Popular Than Free Services

In a sign that legal digital music services are finally gaining ground on file-sharing, Apple's iTunes Music Store tied with peer-to-peer service LimeWire as the second most-popular digital music service in March 2005, according to a report from New York-based market research firm NPD Group. The top service in March was file-sharing service WinMX, which was accessed by 2.1 million households; both iTunes and LimeWire were used by 1.7 million households. Also in the top 10 were file-sharing networks Kazaa and iMesh, and legal services Napster and Rhapsody. NPD said a total of 4 percent of Internet-enabled U.S. households used a paid music download store during March. "One of the music industry's questions has been when will paid download stores compete head-to-head with free P2P download services," said NPD Group's Russ Crupnick. "That question has now been answered. iTunes is more popular than nearly any P2P service, and two other paid digital music offerings have also gained a level of critical mass."

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