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amazon-mp3iTunes has been the king of digital music downloads for the past ten years, but the latest numbers show Amazon slowly gaining ground.

The NPD Group is out with its 4Q digital music downloads numbers and AmazonMP3 held 22 percent of the paid music market. While that’s considerably lower than Apple’s 63 percent market share, Amazon is certainly growing compared to 2011 (15 percent), 2010 (13 percent), 2009 (10 percent) and 2008 (seven percent).

Apple’s 63 percent is also dipped from 2011, when the company had 68 percent of the digital music download market.

Amazon has been expanding its digital music offerings in recent months through its Cloud Player service, which allows users to listen to their personal music collections across various devices.

Amazon is also in informal talks with several music companies about launching a new subscription service, which would provide new competition for the likes of Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio and Spotify. Apple and Google also have been rumored to be dipping their toes deeper into online music services.

NPD found that 41 percent of those who stream music via platforms like Pandora and Spotify still think it’s important to own music, and that actually, streaming music has caused many to buy more music than they would have previously.

NPD also noted that 44 million Americans bought at least one song or album last year, a number that’s been stagnant for the past three years.

In February, Amazon brought its Cloud Player music service to vehicles equipped with Ford Sync AppLink, including new Mustangs, Fusions and F-150s.

Previously on GeekWireAmazon unveils AutoRip, turning your 15-year-old CDs into free digital copies

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