…yeah, no. Not gonna happen. At least not anytime soon.
This goofy story has roots in a report from Digital Music News:
Apple is now preparing to completely terminate music download offerings on the iTunes Store, with an aggressive, two-year termination timetable actively being considered and gaining favor. According to sources to Digital Music News with close and active business relationships with Apple, discussions are now focused “not on if, but when” music downloads should be retired for good.
The story then talks about a 3-4 year timeline. So which is it? Two years or four?
The answer is “neither.”
Apple took the nearly unprecedented step of sending out a real human being to deny all this. Apple never comments on rumors. I quote:
“Not true,” said Apple rep Tom Neumayr.
Neumayr wouldn’t expand on that comment, except to make it clear that he was responding to both timelines proposed in today’s story from Digital Music News.
While streaming is going to one day be more profitable to Apple than selling downloads, iTunes is still the biggest music retailer in the world with revenues of more than $2 billion. People still buy a lot of downloads.
Two billion is a drop in the bucket for Apple to be sure and download sales have seen a steady decline for some time, but the iTunes Music Store is still hugely important to the music industry–too important to let it disappear. We’ll eventually move away from downloads, but they’ll be with us for a long, long time yet.