So What IS Apple Going to Do About iTunes?

Like a lot of people, I have a love-hate relationship with iTunes. Check that: it’s more like a tolerate-hate relationship, kind of like a grumpy couple who have been married for 43 years. The whole program, which has become bloated (too many features/operations jammed into one place), outdated (uh, FLAC files, Apple?) and slow (it choked on my 65,000 song library) and needs to be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up.

Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference is coming up next week which gives hope to some people. Could a new iTunes make its debut?  Some rumours say “yes,” promising more of a focus on album artwork and more of a black-and-white look to the UI. It will also include upgrades to Apple Music, including the integration of lyrics. This kinda makes sense in that we’ve already been promised a redesign of the kludgey Apple Music.

But then we have the persistent rumour that Apple plans to get out of the music download business in 2-3 years.  The future, according to these sources, is streaming and just streaming. No more iTunes Music Store and paid downloads. Given that iTunes is responsible for up to 70% of digital music sales on the planet, the very notion of Apple getting out of the download game must have the record labels reaching for their defibrillators. Then again, everyone recognizes that download sales are in as much of a freefall as sales of CDs–maybe more. Something’s gotta change.

What will Apple have to say June 13th? This should be interesting.

Related: Could Apple have big changes coming for the App Store? Maybe.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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