Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

New sources have come forth claiming that Apple is in fact aiming to phase out digital music downloads on iTunes, despite the fact that Apple rep Tom Neumayr specifically stated such rumors were "not true" in May.

Speaking with Digital Music News, the insiders said that Apple is simply "keeping their options open" while moving forward, intending to keep a watch on how Apple Music performs in comparison to the digital sales numbers in iTunes.

According to the sources, Apple might be gearing up for an iTunes revamp that would introduce software architecture with the ability for the company to "more easily drop iTunes music downloads" down the road. This would allow Apple to subtly shift the service towards the streaming and radio side of things in the event that paid music downloads drop off precipitously.

The same sources suggest such a refresh could be discussed at WWDC next week, bringing "harmony" between Apple Music and iTunes while preparing for the potential closure of paid downloads down the line.
Sources couldn't share screenshots or any sensitive information about the upcoming iTunes launch, though a key aspect of the overhaul includes 'making more sense' of iTunes music downloads and Apple Music streams. That has been a huge source of confusion for fans, even those that clearly understand the difference between downloading and streaming.

But one source noted that Apple is "definitely not getting rid of [music] downloads" at the WWDC event next week, or any time in the short-term future, while another mentioned that possibility that top executives may "double down" their expressed commitment to the format during WWDC presentations to cool rumors.
The early rumors in May suggested that Apple was looking at a three-to-four year timeline on ending iTunes music downloads, with a staggered termination plan based on regional popularity of paid downloads. Projected gross from downloads in 2019 are around $600 million, down from the $3.9 billion users paid for downloads in 2012.

With many artists refraining from streaming services -- and fan support of owning their music remaining relatively strong -- DMN's sources admit that, for the time being, "downloads are here to stay."

Read DMN's full report on the iTunes download situation here.

Article Link: Report Insists Apple Will Eliminate iTunes Store Music Downloads in Future

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
Kassel, Germany
If that happens and they don't provide a worthwhile experience for those who keep their collections, ripped CDs, downloads or whatever, I'll leave iTunes behind.

And the less programs there are that keep me interested in Mac and iOS...
Go figure.

Maybe it's not all that bad that Apple keeps ****ing up...
Gets rid of a lot of the emotional attachment, switching will be a bit easier should it become necessary.

Glassed Silver:mac

PS: (I know iTunes is on Windows, but you know... iTunes for Windows right...)

Fall Under Cerulean Kites

macrumors 6502
May 12, 2016
These reports of downloads going away crack me up. o_O

Why? Unless you’re speaking of bit-torent-style downloads. In which case, your reaction is entirely understandable.

People stream now and don’t download nearly as much. Most people have interenet connected devices. It’s entirely plausible. Especially if it pushes revenue towards a (more profitible?) streaming service. Music is not an industry that I’d want to be in though - in any capacity.


Jul 29, 2010
What I want Apple Music to be won't ever happen. If they attempt to phase out purchases it'll remain bloated forever. And this is why I'll remain a Spotify subscriber for a long time. Decently clean interface and basic/simple.

When people defend iTunes not being that bad, I always wonder if they've tried the consensus agreed, better alternatives. I used to think it was okay as well. Tried Spotify for couple months and then realized iTunes is trying to do 10 things at once. Probably hit the overload point 5? years ago...
  • Like
Reactions: attila and Stjuls


macrumors newbie
Oct 2, 2015
I'll go somewhere else then. I'm not always on a network where I can stream, and don't always want to use my data plan to listen to music. What is one to do on a plane if they don't want to pay for an expensive WiFi plan? I doubt this will ever happen, but it's a stupid move if it does.


macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
I'm trying to cut back on subscriptions in an effort to simplify my life. If Apple makes streaming their only option, then I know of at least one customer that they will lose. Based on other comments I've read, I won't be the only one. I really hope Apple doesn't make this move.


Dec 6, 2012
This would allow Apple to subtly shift the service towards the streaming and radio side of things in the event that paid music downloads drop off precipitously.

They have already made non-subtle changes to push users towards streaming. They moved all radio stations behind the pay wall for one. Basically I see this as a self fulfilling prophecy. The more they move behind the paywall the less people will use itunes or download through that channel. In my case, I don't EVER see myself subscribing to Apple Music or any streaming service. I have already started using other sources to discover music since i cant do that in Apple Music anymore. And I am buying music elsewhere as a result. I know I am in the minority and most millennials hate owning anything (cars, homes, etc). I am an old fart that still believes in owning everything.

So far, I am still using itunes to manage my library (although I have purchased BeaTunes to manage iTunes). As this continues, I need to find a good tool to manage my music library. Any suggestions?


macrumors member
Sep 25, 2012
Why is it that in the last few years, Apple kills off only the things that are truly great: like the 17" MBP for example. I understand that not many people bought 17" laptops... But die hard apple fans did. The same die hard fans who promote apple to the world more than any apple marketing effort. Furthermore, watch any Hollywood film from say... 2005-2012. If there's a computer appearing in the film, 9 times out of 10, it's a 17" MBP.

Downloading music is no different. Even if sales dwindle, the fact remains that some people want to actually own something rather than pay for access via streaming. Apple should pay more attention to the core supporters of their products. 17" MBP and now this. Steve would not approve.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.