Music Industry

Here we go again: More rumours about Apple shutting down iTunes. And now we have a date.

Digital Music News, a site that I visit every day, has been hammering away on the impending death on paid iTunes downloads for some time. It maintains that Apple has a plan in action to stop selling music files as a way of pushing people to access music only through streaming.

This is not good. For guys like me who need/want possession of music files (not least of which for construction of my radio shows), I do NOT want to go back to the pre-2001 era when I had to scour stores for CDs and vinyl to find songs I needed for my Ongoing History of New Music show. If you like to load up your phone with music to go for a jog or walk the dog or a trip to the gym, you won’t be able to buy new music for that purpose. Want the latest music? Subscribe to Apple Music. Pay for more data.

Talk about a stupid step backwards.

Yet DMN insists that there is a slow-moving plan for Apple to rid itself of iTunes music. I quote:

Now, sources inside the company are pointing to a firm date for a planned shutdown of the iTunes music download store. Earlier, these same sources pointed to an ‘early 2019’ shutdown, though internal roadmaps now include a March 31st, 2019 phase-out of the service.

The sources clarified that this would only be the announcement date. Effectively, that will set in motion the shutdown, with users given ample warning of the upcoming phase-out.

Additionally, the sources stressed that music downloads will always work on all Apple devices and the iTunes platform, across all versions. That includes music purchased on iTunes, or uploaded from any other source. So you’ll always be able to play MP3s, iTunes-purchased AACs, and even older, DRM-protected iTunes songs (many years ago, song downloads were ‘DRM protected,’ creating limitations on file-sharing and other uses).

Great. So the thousands of tracks I’ve already purchased with continue to work. But anything I need in the future will be unavailable for purchase and download.

If this is true, this will reduce our access to music and our ability to use it as we see fit. Possession of music will become a thing of a past. It’ll all be about access–at least in the Apple digital realm.

Please don’t let this be true.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38031 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

4 thoughts on “Here we go again: More rumours about Apple shutting down iTunes. And now we have a date.

  • I’ve been Apple only for close to 30 years for my computers (that probably won;t change). Phones since I got my iPhone 4 and have had iPods since I got the Video how ever many years ago that was. This would go a LONG way towards breaking my reliance on iPhone (whose OS gets crappier with each iteration anyway). One of the major reasons I’ve stuck with the iPhone was all the content I relied on. Now I’ll have no reason to stick with Apple for my biennial Which-phone-will-have-the-least-headaches debate.

    Its pretty clear Apples ability to help you manage you music collection is sketchy at best. All the tracks they’ve lost by “helping” me manage music using the cloud… Ugh.

    On the upside, this might actually drive me back tot he store for CDs and or illegal downloads which I can rip and manage myself way better than the ridiculous whims of streaming companies and their ability to license content. I suppose that will be less an issue as the old less-tech-friendly musicians retire.

  • ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I hate streaming. I have a very cultivated collection (thanks to a dad who was a massive collector throughout my childhood and really ingrained it in me), and I loathe the idea of depending on the streaming services. I want to own my music. This suuuuuuuucks.

  • I personally love streaming services, I own hundreds of cd’s in the basement I never listen to. With streaming I have access to 99% of all the music ever recorded, whenever I want, wherever I am. If I am worried about cellular data use, I can download to my phone in advance over wifi. And streaming costs the price of a cd a month, about what I used to purchase anyways. Just my $0.02

  • I don’t think you will have to worry about scouring stores for CDs, because most of those stores no longer exist.

    I now download most of my music from 7digital, which offers lossless. They don’t have a streaming service, so hopefully they will be around for awhile.


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