Apple Is Shutting Down iTunes Music Downloads on March 31st, 2019, Sources Say.
Apple is now scheduling an end date for paid iTunes music downloads, according to sources inside the company.
Apple is now experiencing meteoric growth on its streaming music platform, Apple Music. But that growth is directly impacting Apple’s old-line downloads store, for obvious reasons. And, ultimately hastening its demise.
Just last week, Apple executive Jimmy Iovine pointed to a shutdown when ‘people stop buying’. 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).
Other variations, including ‘iTunes Plus’ downloads and video downloads, will always be playable.
You’ll also be able to manage your music download collection on iTunes without issue. Apple will only be ending its paid download offering.
Also, older iPods, including iPod shuffles and iPod video players, will all keep working and playing song downloads. That’s worth noting for people that prefer their older, disconnected devices for off-grid listening. Or, just something simpler for a jog, workout, or dog walk.
No, you can’t upgrade your iPod, but at least it won’t turn into a brick. And iTunes synching will always work (though we’re not sure it will be upgraded over time).
Initially, Apple denied that any termination plans existed. That has now changed.
As noted, a top Apple Music executive number of itunes downloads confirmed that music downloads would be terminated. But an exact date wasn’t supplied. “If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying,” the executive, Jimmy Iovine, told the BBC. “It’s very simple.”
Iovine has played a critical role in the development of Apple Music, which now boasts 40 million paying subscribers. On top of that, an additional 6-7 million may be trialling the service. That is rapidly catching up to Spotify’s 71 million, and underscores the huge shift away from downloads (paid or otherwise).
Indeed, a major issue for Spotify’s future growth forecast is Apple, which is arguably already bigger than Spotify. In terms of revenue, Apple Music already appears to be generating more income, thanks to higher per-subscriber rates and the absence of an expensive ad-based free tier. Throughout, Iovine has been a vocal critic of ad-based streaming, given its tendency to devalue music and dramatically lower artist payouts.
Amazingly, Apple’s paid-only approach is working. But getting more people to shift from $1.29 song downloads to $9.99 monthly accounts isn’t easy. Now, it appears that Apple is looking accelerate that transition for later-adopting music fans and finally surpass Spotify’s early lead.
Top image by Mike Mozart (CC by 2.0).
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I really hate you. This fake news stuff has to stop.
Sure about that one? Apple’s denials seem like the “fake news” to me. DMN’s number of itunes downloads been spot on.
To be fair, DMN throws a lot of $#!t on the wall — some of it sticks, some doesn’t.
But, within that article, they lay out that a 3-4yr (and maybe longer) plan was also being considered.
Safe journalism. Be aggressive with your headline, but cover your bases with a more conservative (and probably obvious) footnote that you can link to years later to validate your reporting.
Fake news?? Nah. But, “spot on??” C’mon…
It’s just funny. It’s like the Apple PR machine tries to wage war on this story even though they’re shutting their product. Steve Jobs would have closed this 3 years ago at least.
Just as Donald Trump said to CNN, “You are fake news.” And you paul, are fake news.
Spot on except for all the click bait headlines. No, Apple is not shutting down iTunes downloads on March 31, 2019. Even if they announce the shutdown on that date, any effective shutdown would be years into the future. You really should lay off the weed if you can’t handle it.
I think the headline is somewhat misleading. Match 31 is the START of the shutdown.
“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.”
This is not the full story. Here’s one thing this missed:
The termination is happening already Phase 1, involving pushing people more to streaming. Phase II starting early next year, ID’ing die hard downloads to move them over. Phase III is the announcement.
breaking .. internet police shut downs DMN due to excessive trolling and fake news spreading. This is totally untrue and won’t happen and stop spamming this already. Wanna bet downloads will be still on itunes in 2030 ?
And…15 months later iTunes going away. Downloads are dumb, USB drives filled with music are dumb, people want streaming. Use YouTube or Apples new “Music” app to stream to your car stereo. As people age they tend to have jobs and families and not sit around listening to music: listening to music is for teens and twenty-somethings, they want streaming, not external hard drives. Welcome to the cloud geezers. You’ll like it. It’s what everyone except apple has been already doing for the last decade. And relax: t’s just more iCloud based apps. The cloud app that replaces iTunes is called “Music”. No real big deal.
Speak for yourself. You may love it. But I like things just fine the way they are. I should have a choice. Because if my only choice is paying for a subscription or getting my music somewhere else, I’m getting my music somewhere else.
I do have some sad news to say. For Mac & iOS users, iTunes will no longer be part of your device. If you read the article I read earlier today at this link, https://bit.ly/30Jld4X — it says that they are replacing iTunes with three separate apps, Music, Podcasts, and TV. This will allow users devices to save on CPU and memory usage, rather than using it all in one app. Yes, they are mainly focusing on Apple Music mainly through the Music app, but the iTunes Store is just a click away, as per what it said. If you have Windows, then your iTunes program will remain unchanged, as this only applies to Apple-licensed devices. Yes, it is an end of an era for Apple discontinuing iTunes, but your music isn’t going anywhere. iTunes Store is still there and probably will be for a long while. They do recommend you subscribe to Apple Music, but they’re only doing that just to get money out of you. You can either pay $9.99 for one album on the iTunes Store, or pay the same price to get full access to 50 million songs, it’s your choice. If you don’t want Apple Music, then don’t buy it. But if you wanna pay 1,000,000th of a single penny for a single song per month, then get Apple Music. It’s probably much better than paying $387 for just 300 song downloads.
iTunes still produces pretty significant income at this time. Here’s to hoping that Apple has a solid plan to convert downloaders to Apple Music and replace that income. A lot of labels and artists still depend on it.
Bullshit. It’s the main source for mp3’s.
“song downloads were ‘DRM protected,’ creating limitations on file-sharing and other uses”
Why did Apple do away with that? It seems like it should have kept it to reduce piracy. After all, they kept DRM for movies and TV shows.
I think the major labels were willing to go DRM free In exchange for variable pricing. That was like a decade ago.
They’ll never shut it down, unless of course the labels stop making the product available.
Besides the industry is still working on a new sku…for 12 years now and counting. Can you say…AR.
Did iTunes steal your girl? What made you this way. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
This gives me the shits! Streaming kills writers and musicians income and degrades their music. As a punter you can’t even “ buy” and support the music and the artist you like. You can’t even store it or make it into playlists. Music has I believe been taken over by nerds and it will ultimately kill it off.
This is stupid. I’ve