Music History

Once again: No, Apple is NOT abandoning iTunes music sales

Let’s kill off this rumour about Apple killing off iTunes next year once and for all.

1. The story has one main source. That’s right, one.

The main source for the story is Digital Music News, a fine site that I read every day. However, DMN has been rabbiting on about “sources” inside Apple saying that the company had plans to shut down iTunes beginning on March 31, 2019.

None of the sources have been named. Nevertheless, people have taken that date as gospel.

2. People then freaked out over a throwaway quote.

Apple’s Jimmy Iovine’s quote deep in a BBC article about streaming has been given far too much credence. I quote:


Apple has previously denied rumours it would “phase out” the iTunes download store next year, but Iovine told the BBC such a move was inevitable.

There is no concrete timescale, but he said: “If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying.

“It’s very simple.”

That was enough for stories to appear with headlines like Apple will kill iTunes and stop selling music downloads, boss Jimmy Iovine admits. Things just took off from there.

3. Apple has now had to calm the waters

British paper The Sun managed to get an Apple spokesman to deny all the we’re-killing-iTunes rumours on the record. Case closed.

(Then again, Apple has had a track record of denying things until they actually happen. How long did Steve Jobs say Apple wasn’t working on a mobile phone or a tablet? Hmm….)


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 38341 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Once again: No, Apple is NOT abandoning iTunes music sales

  • Also… The Sun is hardly reliable.

  • That Sun article is poorly thrown together copy-pasta of bits of older articles. For example, this bit –
    “While Apple apparently informed industry insiders of its decision two weeks ago, Metro shared the details of a leaked letter titled ‘The End of iTunes LPs’ today.”
    Actually that happened in early March and has nothing to do with the current iteration of the rumour. The copy-paster at The Sun forgot to trim that part out when they recycled their “journalism” from earlier. Certainly calls into question the reliability of the “journalism” going on with this article.

    Also if you pay close attention to what The Sun claims the unnamed (but in contrast to standard journalistic practices, not for any specified reason) Apple spokesperson said, they did NOT deny rumoured plans of scrapping downloads. They only denied the rumoured REASON for scrapping downloads. (“Because of the popularity of its Apple Music streaming service and rivalry with platforms like Spotify.”) Words matter.


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