iTunes continues to widen its lead against other digital music services claims the latest Digital Music Brandscape study from Ipsos Tempo.

Total awareness of iTunes increased across the board in 2007, with 82 per cent of all US downloaders (both fee-based users and file-sharers) now aware of iTunes and 76 per cent aware of Napster. iTunes is the first digital music service 38 per cent of downloaders think of when asked to name a service.

Awareness increased significantly for most brands, but, for many, usage did not. Past 30 day usage decreased for Walmart.com and Rhapsody, and remained stagnant for most music services. The clear winner in 2007 was iTunes, whose recent usage increased significantly (24 per cent past 30 day usage among total US downloaders, up from 18 per cent in 2006).

“It has become clear that iTunes’ saliency has now reached beyond that of being ‘just’ the top brand presence to being the pre-eminent brand in digital music,” said Karl Joyce, Senior Research Manager Ipsos Insight and author of the study. “Even more telling than awareness and usage, iTunes favorability clearly demonstrates the value of the brand. While perhaps distressing to some, iTunes’ dominance simply cannot be denied.”

50 per cent of downloaders aware of more than one site consider iTunes the best fee-based digital music service (up from 41 per cent in 2006 and 33 per cent in 2005).

The study also reveals the decline of MySpace and continued decline in CD purchases.