Sure, many retailers have followed suit and launched their own variations of a digital download store or service, but none have captured the imagination of consumers in quite the same way that Apple has.
But now, retail is just maybe fighting back.
Yesterday it was revealed that Best Buy is to acquire Napster – the once scourge of the music industry that turned legitimate and still has brand recognition among the internet generation that any retailer could only dream of for its own service.
Coming at the same time that Best Buy is pushing further into services, and says that it wants to differentiate in the UK by helping customers to use the technology they buy, this could be a smart move.
Imagine being offered a subscription to Napster as part of a wider service package when you buy a laptop from one of Best Buy’s soon to open UK stores; and then being shown how to use it before you leave the store. It’s a level of service that consumers are unaccustomed to with the fragmented way that they buy music and the technology to play it on right now.
And Amazon is also getting in on the digital download act with a tie-up with MySpace for its eagerly anticipated MySpace Music venture.
This will allow consumers to listen to music online from the world’s largest music publishers – Warner Music Group, Song BMG, Universal Music Group and potentially EMI – for free. Money will be made through advertising on the site, and revenue from a download music service provided in partnership with Amazon.
These two very different takes on a challenge to Apple’s dominance show that retailers may be down in the digital download market, but they are certainly not out.