Research from XTN Data declares that iTunes accounts for 54 per cent of UK digital music sales - five times its closest competitor, Napster.

Napster holds 10 per cent of the download market, while home-grown UK firm Wippit clings to third place with 8 per cent of the market. The results were assessed following interviews with 1,000 consumers.

Digital rights management (DRM) remains a turn-off for many: "65 per cent of Wippit customer downloads are unrestricted MP3's compared to 35 per cent protected Windows Media Audio formats," Wippit CEO Paul Myers told Macworld.

Other services, such as those from HMV, Woolworths, Virgin, Tesco, MSN and others, fight for the remaining 28 per cent market share. These services are mainly backed by OD2's Windows-based music selling network. OD2 is now owned by ailing US firm, Loudeye.

MyCokeMusic holds 6 per cent; MSN, 5 per cent; CD Wow, 4 per cent; Virigin Digital, 3 per cent; Tesco, 2 per cent; Woolworths, 2 per cent; and HMV, 1 per cent. All the other remaining services combined account for 11 per cent of the market.

The BPI recently revealed the size of the UK market, saying that "20 million legal downloads have already been sold this year compared with just 5.7 million in 2004."

Combined with the XTN Data research, the BPI figures imply that Apple has sold 10.8 million tracks in the UK through iTunes, while Napster has sold 2 million and Wippit 1.6 million.