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Apple Aiming to End iTunes Music Downloads in Two Years [Update: Apple Says 'Not True']

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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple allegedly has an aggressive plan to "terminate" music downloads from iTunes within two years, reports Digital Music News citing sources with "close and active business relationships" with Apple.

Apple is also rumored to be considering a three to four year timeline for the shutdown of iTunes downloads, but overall discussions with Apple executives are said to focus "not on if, but when" the company should retire music downloads. Termination of music downloads could be staggered by country based on the popularity of streaming content in different regions.
Back to the story, the sources indicated that a range of shutdown timetables are being considered by Apple, though one executive noted that "keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn't really on the table anymore." Also under discussion is a plan to "ride the [iTunes music download offering] out for the next 3-4 years, maybe longer," when paid music downloads are likely to be an afterthought in a streaming-dominated industry. [...]

According to one source, an initial shutdown could take place in 'tier 1' countries like the United States, UK, and leading countries in Europe and Asia, with 'tier 2' and 'tier 3' countries experiencing a staggered shutdown in subsequent years.
The timeline is unclear because Apple's iTunes business continues to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but it is on the decline due to the rise of streaming music services. According to music industry Mark Mulligan, iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million in 2019, down from $3.9 billion in 2012. Mulligan believes Apple's download business could be 10 times smaller than its streaming music business by 2020.

Apple is also said to be considering ending music downloads due to the confusion it causes with Apple Music, mixing downloaded music purchases with Apple Music content.

Late last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Music now has 13 million paying subscribers, up from 11 million users in February. Apple Music originally launched on June 30, 2015 in more than 100 countries and at its current growth rate, Apple is on track to have 15 million subscribers at its one-year anniversary.

Update: Apple rep Tom Neumayr contacted Recode and said the report that Apple would stop iTunes music downloads in two years is "not true."

Article Link: Apple Aiming to End iTunes Music Downloads in Two Years [Update: Apple Says 'Not True']
 

Slix

macrumors 65816
Mar 24, 2010
1,185
1,414
This would be a big mistake I think.

I have no plans to ever subscribe to Apple Music or any subscription service, so if they shut down paid iTunes downloads, they'll be losing money from me every month, and my money would be shifted to other companies to buy my music, like Amazon or the physical CDs.

Don't do it, Apple.
 
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pacmania1982

macrumors 65816
Nov 19, 2006
1,034
282
Birmingham, UK
Well thats a stupid idea. I don't want to have to stream my music all the time (even if it is downloaded to my phone). I want to buy a song when and where I want. Guess I'll either go back to buying CD's or *gasp* torrenting...

Apple got the world to change their minds about paying for music and now this? Its like a complete 180.
 
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garirry

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2013
1,543
3,856
Canada is my city
**** this ****.

How about... I BUY MY MUSIC, AND I OWN IT FOREVER, OKAY? STREAMING IS WORTHLESS TO ME! IF I WANTED TO STREAM, I'D JUST GO TO YOUTUBE AND PLAY WHATEVER I WANT!

EDIT: Partially retracted because confirmed fake (according to the OP). My point still applies however.
 
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v0lume4

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2012
1,789
3,555
I'm all aboard the streaming train (I use Spotify), but I think this is a terrible decision. Countless folks (many of you here on MacRumors!) prefer to purchase and OWN their music. When Apple ends music downloads, you know what's going to happen? People are just going to start buying their music elsewhere like Amazon, etc. If Apple seriously thinks that all current users that purchase music from iTunes will just go, "Oh, that's too bad. I'll go ahead and subscribe to Apple Music now," then they are in for a huge reality check.
 
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gri

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2004
823
119
New York City, aka Big Apple
That would be yet another stupid move from Apple. As others said I like to own the music and have it available also in places where I don't have access to the cloud (e.g. when being in the clouds) or to have to pay either roaming or wifi fees to get to the music. And - what happens to the music I bought over the years from iTunes? That will magically disappear? Or what if I buy a new computer and I want to re-download the music again - eh, not possible to provide you with the files you paid us good money for, look, its on page 73 to the new agreement you agreed to when ou upgrade to the new version of iMusic...
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Someday? On an infinite time scale? Anything could happen. Dubious rumor for now. Maybe even a hardball negotiating leak of some kind.

But it wouldn't kill me, since Amazon (or any) MP3s work fine with iTunes. I would, however, miss Apple's MP4 quality-vs-filesize.

I'd still use and love iTunes for managing my playlists, and I still wouldn't become a streamer :) I'll keep my library of Apple songs—which have been DRM-free for ages, and have always had music from other download sources mixed in.
 
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