Apple Terminating Music Downloads ‘Within 2 Years’

Apple is preparing to abandon music downloads.

Apple is now preparing to completely terminate music download offerings on the iTunes Store, with an aggressive, two-year termination timetable actively being considered and gaining favor.  According to sources to Digital Music News with close and active business relationships with Apple, discussions are now focused “not on if, but when” music downloads should be retired for good.

The sources insisted on confidentiality and required that all conversations be conducted outside of email or any written medium, given the realistic fear of reprisals for sharing details of internal corporate discussions.

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.

Since publication of this story on Wednesday, Apple has issued a rare denial of reported shutdown proposals.

Part of the debate is that paid music downloads still account for hundreds of millions of dollars to Apple, worldwide.  According to an estimate revealed by music industry analyst Mark Mulligan at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, iTunes music downloads will still be worth an estimated $600 million in 2019, though that is down from peak revenues of $3.9 billion in 2012.

“If he were alive, Jobs would have killed it,” one source bluntly stated (and he’s probably right).

But this is a ship that is sinking, fast.  “Last year downloads declined by 16% in nominal terms,” Mulligan noted.  “This year they are tracking to decline by between 25% and 30%.”

Earlier estimates by Digital Music News projected song download revenues closer to the $750 million mark, though that could be overly-optimistic given recent declines.

Steve Jobs.

Lingering large is the ghost of Steve Jobs, who created a culture of aggressively phasing products out in favor of new ones, even if the older products were still earning money.  That bleeding edge approach of actively cannibalizing Apple’s own products is now legendary, and the stuff of only the gutsiest companies and CEOs.  Within the less renegade Apple of 2016, the question is whether current CEO Tim Cook is guilty of riding out the profits on a dying technology.  “If he were alive, Jobs would have killed it,” one source bluntly stated (and he’s probably right).

Apple Music Growth.

A critical piece of this puzzle comes from Apple Music, the subscription service launched last July that already boasts 13 million paying subscribers (as first reported by Digital Music News).  According to Mulligan, that number is surging towards 20 million by year end, with Apple’s streaming revenues surpassing peak music download revenues by 2020.  “By 2020 [Apple’s] download business would be tracking to be 10 times smaller than streaming revenue but, crucially, streaming revenue would nearly have reached the 2012 iTunes Store download revenue peak,” Mulligan estimated.

“This is the point at which Apple would choose to turn off the iTunes Store.”

Product Confusion.

Weighing heavy on the decision-making process is a growing level of confusion amongst various Apple music properties.  Already, download purchases are leading to obnoxious and confusing tie-ins with Apple Music (and for more on that, read this).  Indeed, paying downloaders are being punished by a confusing traffic jam of overlapping offerings, not to mention wandering zombies like iTunes Match, iCloud, and other high-calorie components of iTunes’ ‘bloatware’ application.

Interestingly, the iTunes Store is almost looking like a microcosm of the issues that plagued a ‘Jobless’ Apple in the 90s, when endless computer models, printers, and other confusing peripherals and unnecessary products sagged the company’s profile and nearly plunged it into bankruptcy.  Perhaps this is the perfect time for another serious streamline in music (and other media properties), and a solid wave to the music industry’s past.

Global Considerations.

According to the same sources, Apple’s termination could be staggered depending on the country.  The reason is that rollouts and adoption rates can be completely different depending on the global region, with some countries yet to embrace streaming music (music less Apple Music).

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.

Label and Content Owner Considerations.

Another wrinkle comes from recording labels themselves, especially independent labels.  That group derives significant revenues from music download sales, and is expected to express significant displeasure against any ‘premature’ shutdown.  “It’s the past, not the future, but then you should know how the music business is,” one source ribbed.

Major labels, many of whom stand to gain handsomely from a meteoric rise in streaming, may be more supportive of the termination.  Already, the entry of Apple Music appears to be bolstering music streaming overall, with Spotify thanking the company for pushing it past 100 million users.  In that light, streaming music could enjoy even greater growth with a product clarification and streamlining from Apple.

On that front, top Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine, a longtime fixture Universal Music Group before migrating to Apple Music, could play a key diplomatic role in the termination and transition.

89 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Major label trojan horse Jimmy Iovine to play a diplomatic role in easing the concerns of indies? LOL OK

    • Chris

      Hahaha, this won’t happen Artists WILL not let this happen. They won’t let their albums to just be streamed and not bought. Spotify & Apple don’t pay artists a good share for each stream they get, artists will pull their albums from streaming services if this was going to happen, they don’t even make a cent from one stream.. what profit are they going to make??? Nothing.

      • tory

        i just got paid on apple music streams from feb. their per stream rate is $.011/stream. so 1.1 cents. pretty good for a big store.

        and it’s not up to the artists. sure, a big name here or there will opt out. but in the end, it’s the CONSUMER who makes that call. if CONSUMERS would rather stream than download, that’s the way the market will go. and if you don’t want in on that, good luck.

        • RickJ

          1.1 cents is good? Not sure I understand. How many individual streams is that? It doesn’t sound profitable. If you don’t mind explaining, please and thank you.

        • Cailean

          Consumers want streaming but musicians can’t live from that. They can want it all they want but that doesn’t make it a sustainable model. Consumers will end up having to put up with more ads in-stream, or pay higher prices to support the artists.

          • Brian

            Right. Consumers also would love to buy a car for 10 bucks. If the model is not feasible for every necessary entity of the supply chain, then it will eventually cease to exist.

            However, this could simply be a matter of finding the right pricing scheme so that artists/labels can get more out of it.

      • ghostwriter

        Artists with bargaining power will negotiate better terms than those without, but neither have the power to force Apple to continue offering a download service.

      • Andrew

        I have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro. If I have WIFI, I can live stream using Pandora One. Pandora One is not free. Artists decide if they wish for their music to be played. It is similar to XM radio (few commercials).

    • Chops Maloney

      Considering that apple isn’t even familiar with what a .WAV or .FLAC file is, I’m surprised they even get to talk about music.

      and 1 cent a stream…. that means on 100,000 plays, an artist gets $1,000. this is a joke, right? What role do these companies play in any of this, again? All logic says THEY should be the getting 1 cent per stream, not the other way around.

      Again, apple isn’t even familiar with what music even is, or how people listen to it. They can’t comprehend the importance of a file format/quality/lossless, a cd player, djs, their own Ipod player! (forehead slap), people that listen to music but don’t constantly bathe in the internet, ect.

      If you need someone that knows what the hell they’re doing, hit me up. But I’m not cheap. and you get 1%, not 99…. nazis…

      • Chops Maloney

        oh yeah, bandcamp FTW if you want anything you pay as a consumer, to actually be received by the source/artist of what you are purchasing, instead of 99%+ of it going to a 3rd party “middleman” company, that really didn’t do a damn thing to begin with.

        Audacity can get increasingly overwhelming as idiocracy keeps pushing our species down this slippery slope…

        • Chops Maloney

          If you want to have truly BOTH ethics AND logic, torrent everything, then paypal the artist/writer/director a donation. Honestly, anybody with any real life sense about them couldn’t disagree. This way you can find real life talent, all on your own. This gives you a chance to craft and shape an “individual personality”. You don’t have to be constantly subjected to implanted genetic deformalities plaguing music charts/radio/tv, as if their genetically smudged lifestyles/lifelines should not only be acceptable, but the norm. (background scream of terror)

  2. Anonymous

    Calling B.S. Unlike physical formats where there is a significant cost to manufacture, there is absolutely no reason to kill music downloads. A lot of people will never want to be tied down to a monthly subscription. Windowing is still in the experimental stage and showing signs of growing. Not to mention that Apple offers video and app downloads. Not having music downloads wouldn’t make sense from a strategic standpoint and it would leave a lot of potential money on the table.

    Steve Jobs would not throw music downloads away.

    • Greg A Steinke

      Totally agree with you. Thanks for making this comment!!

    • Vail, CO

      Hey everyone, this just in: track downloads are collapsing! As in, done in a few years. Spotify ditched downloads what… 6 years ago? This is the PAST.

      Have you been on iTunes recently? Yeah, it’s Bloatware 100% it needs simplification. Forget this industry Apple cares about consumers.

      • Me2

        Yeah, just like CDs and Vinyl which last year pulled in a substantial chunk.

        Funny how both the past and future seem to coexist just fine in the present.

      • junku

        Did Spotify used to do downloads? I thought they were always just streaming.

      • Anonymous

        Spotify abandon downloads because it didn’t make sense for them to offer paid downloads. The sales were likely minuscule. They didn’t have the necessary licenses needed to expand the service to all the markets they offered streaming. Overall they were likely losing money on it. That isn’t the case with Apple and likely never will be. They sell more downloads than every other service combined. They have licenses to sell music in nearly every country. And they have a huge hardware platform to promote sales. Some of which (like the iPod shuffle) do not even support streaming. Fairplay DRM is theoretically capable of being used to offer subscription services but Apple has given no indication that they plan to do so.

  3. doktor audio

    breaking news: Apple acquires bandcamp.

    • DK

      This is the correct answer. Although, I think it’s more likely that Google would.

    • Me2

      Perhaps, after the inevitable bump they’ll receive from having downloads available.

  4. Anonymous

    Time to terminate my relationship with Apple then…

  5. Jonesey

    I was in the physical distribution side of the business for one of the then big 6 in the 8o’s thru early 2000’s. When I bought my first download on itunes when it first rolled out I thought, “I’m out of a job within 5 years.” It took two. I am now a very happy Apple Music and Spotify subscriber and I agree that there is little cost reason to kill Itunes downloads like the physical CD business. However I am an avid music streamer. I have over 11,000 songs in my library of playlists on Spotify and probably 4-5k on my Apple music. The only reason I did both is my family were all on Spotify first and then I switched to Apple Music when it debuted so I could merge my ripped CDs with my streaming lists. Both subscriptions cost me less than $40/month. If you add up all the songs across all of our platforms it’s over 20,000. Divide that by 11 songs per CD that is over 18000 CD albums. Multiply that by about $10.00 a CD and that’s over $18k. Divide that by 12 months a year and that is over $1500/month. That’s not including the stuff I ripped from CDs that I physically owned. Also the ability to hear a song and shazam it then add it to your streaming library without having to pay for it separately as a download is amazing. Now some may argue that I dont own the library but I dont intend on ending my subscription and the amount of music my family adds to their various libraries on the two platforms is is way over 4 CDs retail a month ($40 maybe and that’s if we could find the things we wanted at our local Best Buy/Target/Walmart) We do have some good indie stores nearby but they are selling more non music merch than CDs now. (Chicken or egg?) For those who dont want to be tied down to a “subscription” I think they are looking at it wrong. I loved my CD collection and was proud of it. I probably bought over $100 worth of CDS a month and got 5 X that amount for free. Now its all in my pocket and in the sky. The main thing I want is for artists to be compensated fairly for the streams of their music. I think $.50 a stream would be ok. If the price of the subscription doubled (not that I want it to.) so that it could feed the ecosystem of artists more fairly so they could continue to create and not just have to rely on touring to live I would be ok with it. It’s still a great value. Just dont get greedy Apple! The labels where I used to make my living have to re do the contracts so that the realities of marketing music in the 21st century are reflected and the artists aren’t paying for things they paid for back in the 80’s and 90’s like breakage and promo mailings. I also predict there will be no physical discs for music, games or movies by 2020. There is no need for little shiny discs anymore. And this is from a guy who LOVED them!!! It’s over.

    The record business has to die so the MUSIC BUSINESS can live!!!

    • Katbel

      What if your wifi is down?
      No music?! Music industry is not poor! they have trillions of $
      and they don’t need more money every time I play a song I bought and I’m playing for my own pleasure
      It’s over for you not for me.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Apple Music lets you cache songs for offline access, including times when Wifi is down or weak, when you’re on an airplane, etc.

        • Ramon

          Isn’t that using what they used to call Digital Rights Management? (DRM) As I recall, that was pretty popular back in the day?

          Someone will pick this ball up and run with it. Not everyone wants to lease a car. Some people like to just buy it and be done with it. And the people who prefer to have both streaming AND downloads will just find their music another way (Amazon, Piracy, etc). If you want to think about the future, we’ll all have terabytes of storage on our phones so memory won’t be an issue, and even download speeds for .wav files or FLACs is very fast now. And when subscription rates double, those who deleted or sold their collections will be kicking themselves.

    • Michaelo

      Not sure I understand the way you use music. If you say you have 15 or 16,000 tracks in playlists you must be consuming music like water. That is over a thousand hours of listening so you would have to listen solidly for 3 hours per day, 7 days a week for a year just to cover your entire list once. Why on earth would you need a library that large? I don’t understand the advantage compared to having a few hundred songs you really love and want to play many times.

      • Josh

        Some people really love music, and a lot of music. At any moment you might want to play a song while out. If it’s not there, and you don’t have a signal or you’ve reached your data cap, you can’t hear that song. That is disappointing to music lovers.

      • J-Man

        Your few hundred songs is much like the radio, same stuff over and over, on some stations I can almost set my watch based on what top-40 song is playing.
        I much prefer to hear something different from those great albums that you never get to listen to because they only play the one or two most popular songs.

    • ghostwriter

      This person gets it. Physical media will become and remain a statistically insignificant contributor to overall music biz revenue. It will be the sole purview of people who like to spend too much money on music for whatever it buys them. For the average listener, there will be few real world settings where fidelity or access to music would be improved by physical media or mp3 files. And if my wifi AND my cell phone data are down then something is wrong and I have bigger problems to worry about. For music I want to have for the rare times I can’t stream, I own copies of the songs. For everything else, I have a YouTube Red account (which includes commercial free YouTube running on my phone with an audio only option to save battery life, plus Google Play streaming service ) for $10, and a cell phone bill of $100 month for my son’s phone and my phone. As a teenager I used to spend upwards of a hundred dollars a month first on albums and later on CDs. And that only bought me access to whatever seven or eight albums I bought that month. Now I can hear virtually any piece of recorded music in the world for the same money. Less, actually, considering that $100 in 1985-1990 bought a lot more than it does today. Except where music is concerned, anyway. It’s a buyer’s market in terms of access vs. cost ratio. There will always be some market for downloads and even physical media, but that doesn’t mean that Apple will continue to meet the demands of that shrinking market. There will definitely come a time when the benefits of funneling every customer into one service will outweigh the costs of maintaining the physical and virtual infrastructure of download services. And keep in mind, it was Apple that first brought the digital music revolution to the masses, pretty much by just forcing it to happen. The moment it becomes worth it to them they will do it again. Finally, anyone who claims “that could never happen” where the music business is concerned simply hasn’t been paying attention. 7

    • DJ G33zr

      Enjoy the silence in 10 or 20 years when you’re on a fixed retirement income and the streaming service has gone up to $120 a month.

    • Fast Eddie

      You think that streaming serivices are going to increase their payment to artists by %5000?? And acheive that by only charging you double? Streaming services along with labels are strong-arming artists. It’s theft. Plain and simple. And you’re raving about how much you and your family are enjoying the stolen goods. Further more, you’re carrier is now profiting from the streaming of that music. A brand new revenue stream created that artists are completely cut out of. Unlimited streaming of such a vast catalogue should be a much much much more expensive.

  6. Jonesey

    Correction, I hit an extra 0 in my calculations. 20000 songs divided by 11songs per CD=1,818 CDs NOT over 18k like I stated above. Multiply that by $10/CD THAT is over $18k and divide that by 12 months a year and that is $1500/month. We are paying a little less than $40/month for Spotify/Apple music subscriptions for a family of 4. We have been streaming for 3 years so multiply $40 X 36 months =$1,440 dollars of music vs $5,555 for the same amount of music over the 3 years. Sorry for confusion

    • Andy

      Not mentioned in your cost analysis is the cost of bandwidth for streaming onto your smartphone when you are not connected to a WiFi network.
      That’s a lot of money going to the carriers for, well, what, exactly? That doesn’t benefit the consumer, that doesn’t benefit the artists, but Verizon and AT&T love it.

      • ghostwriter

        I pay $100 a month for two phones with unlimited data and never have a problem. I pay $10 a month for YouTube Red (which streams commercial free and has an,audio only option) which also includes Google play. Compared to what I used to spend on physical media and downloads, I pay practicality nothing. I may not be typical of my (middle aged) generation, but I love this stuff. It’s made me completely rethink how I view the very concept of ownership, and I take immense satisfaction in getting rid of possessions. It’s of much greater value to me now to become a collector of experiences and interpersonal relationships than a collector of things. I have contingencies in place, of course, but there’s virtually nowhere I go where I can’t more easily stream music than listen in any other way.

    • ghostwriter

      Not sure how it happened, but my previous post was intended as a response to your (Jonesy’s) well-elucidated thoughts on streaming

      • ghostwriter

        Not in this thread. In the thread above this one.

  7. Chuck Norbis

    Jobs hated streaming, and believed that people want to own their music. Not sure where people are getting the idea that he’d be good with changing that frequently stated position. When I am playing online games, I don’t want to eat up bandwidth with music streaming, I turn off my WiFi and play my downloaded files. This whole idea seems suspiciously fake.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      C’mon, Jobs hated streaming in 2010. That’s an eternity ago. And he’s notorious for saying Apple wasn’t going to do something or that it was a bad idea to get other competitors out of the game. Hard to imagine Jobs clinging to 99 cent downloads in 2016.

      • Me2

        Jobs was the one who wanted to kill Flash, Optical and earlier the floppy.

        Overall the trend is to the cloud, with phones omitting SD cards.

        But this is at odds with low internal device memory and exorbitant bandwidth costs for some

        For others, it’s that they do indeed actually want to ‘own’ it.

  8. tg

    not to mention an artist is likely to receive 25 – 60 cents for a download compared to only half a cent for a stream. this will really hurt indie artists.

  9. DavidB

    I never buy a download from iTunes if I can buy it from Amazon ( which is 99.99% of the time). Amazon is both cheaper and more convenient.

  10. holst

    I work around a lot of teenagers. They rarely buy music if at all. That is the future of popular music for ya. We have taught them, that you don’t have to pay for it.

    They don’t value quality audio fidelity either, and many don’t even know what that is. They don’t go out and buy dedicated audio playback systems. Nor is this an improvement on civilization.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Mulligan surmises that Apple may shut off downloads in 2020, based on his projections. It’s an interesting read and his calculations I use here, but I didn’t get the sense that he’s speaking with any sources. Or maybe he is, who knows.

  11. Skeptic

    I call bogus on this piece of questionable clickbait masquerading as journalism. No sources, sensationalist header graphic, and an utterly misleading chart from 2014.

    Let’s look at the chart: it only has data through 2013 and goes with a story predicting a sharp decline in sales. Plus it has an idiotic curve overlaid that drops faster than the made-up data it follows, just to sell the agenda item.

    Chicken Little can write web articles. Go figure.

  12. Almost 50

    I saw an earlier comment that kids today don’t pay for music. My daughter, for example, gets what she wants from YouTube. She can’t see the point in paying for a subscription or buying a physical copy when “everything” is available for free. The expectation that music is free and the reliance on an ad-driven distribution model that pays almost nothing should scare musicians (and record companies) to death. How will anyone be able to make a living playing music if the upcoming generation is contributing next to nothing and honestly believes that it doesn’t have to?

    Unfortunately I’m no help at all, but for entirely different reasons. My musical tastes are locked in the past and my music buying days are behind me. I have a big collection that does a good job of covering popular music from 5 years before I was born to the point when I graduated from university. I have little interest in most music recorded since then and almost never hear anything new that I’m willing to pay for.

    • Brian

      Your music has not died, simply been deep underground. Lots of hard rock, prog rock, heavy metal, etc. is still healthily living without the aid of the major labels/industry, and many new bands are coming out that want to play nothing but classic styles. You may want to consider your approach if you are a music lover.

  13. Braden

    Are there any indications Google Play and Amazon will follow suit? If they don’t, Apple just lost me as a customer all together, I’ll lust take my business next door. What if I want to listen to my music while I’m camping? Is Apple going to magically make the internet available at reasonable speeds in the Rocky Mountains in the next 2 years? Somehow, I don’t think they will be.

    • Almac

      “How will anyone be able to make a living playing music…”

      The same way they have done for centuries, by performing live, ie. playing music. Recorded music has existed for less than a hundred years, and even now, very few artists make anything but a small percentage of their income from it.

      If you want to help the artists, go see them at a live show.

  14. Braden

    The idea is that I have to use my internet to stream my music, meanwhile, I pay out the ass ($100+ a month) for extremely substandard speeds (10-15 Mbps) from Comcast, the largest ISP in America and the only ISP in my area; an internet provider who doesn’t do shit to upgrade their infrastructure and when they do they raise your rates and bleed their customers dry. When something gets better and easier through technological progress and innovation it gets cheaper, not more expensive! Look at the cotton gin. It lowered the cost of cotton textiles significantly. For the last 5 years, Comcast has been throttling the speeds of customers who actually use their bandwidth, saying it isn’t fair for their other customers, but not proving any real numbers to prove that as they are lying out of their teeth and only wish to line their pockets by providing the cheapest (for them) service possible for a premium price. And now Comcast wants to chop the internet into levels of access where you pay a basic fee for access to only a handful of websites and pay more for access to more, as if it were cable television. How is that not censorship, something completely unconstitutional in the USA???
    I am disgusted with what rich people are allowed to get away with in this country. And I’m sorry, but anyone who votes Republican and then complains about this shit deserves to be strung up with the executives and the politicians and beaten with two-by-fours with nails in them. You bring this on yourselves through your utter ignorance of history and the world at large.

    • Braden

      That may have been a bit harsh at the end, I am really pissed off right now, but apparently I can’t delete or edit that post, so oh well.

      • Fall1999

        Right; it’s all the fault of Republicans. Idiot.

        • Mite Be

          Republicans represent the interests of the elites, and fight every anti-trust move out there. Google, Apple, Amazon should all be in court for anti-competitive practices. They should all be split up. Just because democrats sold out to join what Republicans started doesn’t mean Repugs aren’t to blame….IDIOT!

          • Brian

            Democrats also represent the interests of the elite just as well. Don’t fool yourself if you think either major political party doesn’t.

    • I'm not a luddite I just am alive a lot

      Getting similarly screwed by Centurylink over here. All this tech-gouging is getting to the point where I am going to cancel my wifi, get rid of my phone, and go back to my 20th century lifestyle. I will laugh heartily at (while crying inside for) all those who can’t imagine being able to live without all this shit. Because I can’t live with it!

      $$$ black hole + TIME black hole + Disconnect from reality = Why did I even need to try this to realize I reject it?!

  15. rp

    Paul, did you give up on the Spotify hate campaign, yet? lol. just curious.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      That’s all in your head. I don’t hate Spotify, or any other company. But we’re tough when it comes to reporting about them (and other companies).

  16. BingBong

    Sometimes I get the feeling that a lot of commentators are sort of wishing that the paid music download would go away..
    But hey, Apple iTunes Store is still a vital and strong recorded music business and even if the market did decline by 16-30% it’s still a billion dollar business.. USD$600 Million a year is not chicken feed after all.

    In a bad scenario say your revenues declined by as much as 30 per cent, on the up side you still have 70 per cent. So the glass is still three quarters full..
    Also, iTunes you don’t need to be on a subscription with a monthly fee.. You love a track, you pay for it and it’s yours and there’s no more on-going fees… Personally “I Love iTunes” and hope it lasts forever..

    Really a download is just like a stream .. it’s just data after all ..
    except you’re capturing the stream and storing it in your digital device(s).

    As the economy tightens up and people cut back on discretionary spending … cable TV, NetFlix and paid music streaming services will be the first to get the flick.. followed by the car, private education and overseas holidays..

    The American economy is on the brink (particularly for 60+% of the population) and who wants more and more bills piling in every month when there’s a hundred other things that have to be paid for along the way…

  17. Chris

    There is no way this is even remotely close. And Apple just confirmed this is definitely not happening. Might want to check your “sources.” But I’m sure you enjoyed the clicks and ad revenue on this yesterday. Bravo.

  18. Hiram

    Apple has denied this story completely. Why did the author write it? FUD? Who were his sources? Drunks around a bar table?

  19. Name2

    And this is what your “colleagues” think of you:

    Yesterday, the music industry’s version of the National Enquirer, Digital Music News, reported that “Apple is now preparing to completely terminate music download offerings on the iTunes Store, with an aggressive, two-year termination timetable actively being considered and gaining favor.”

    Most of the digital press piled on. We resisted, not just because we’ve seen DMN repeatedly get the facts wrong, but also because the story just didn’t make sense.

  20. dhenn

    This is complete an utter BS! I want to own my fckng music not stream it!

  21. Cynical Jesus

    Innovation died right along with Steve Jobs.

  22. Doug

    This decision would be very stupid and sad, and also would be the final sign to any musician on this planet that being or becoming a recording artist doesn’t make any sense.

  23. Michael Carr

    This makes absolutely no sense in a world that still values curated experiences, as evident with the popularity of DJs, and even personal vinyl collections. Not to mention that streaming services, especially in public settings like the office, are fraught with interruptions over availability and personal preferences. The staccato of half-listened songs at multiple volume points on shitty computer speakers sends real music aficionados running for home to owned collections in sonically sound environments.

  24. Fall1999

    Funny to watch all these irrelevant dinosaurs like Apple, which thinks its the center of internet music, but is only an insignificant laughingstock when compared with the millions of independent web artists and netlabels offering free and legal downloads. Perhaps the control-freak goons of Cupertino have finally realized their nominal place in an explosion of human creativity that doesn’t need a stupid fruit logo stamped on it.

  25. Dave Buerger

    This strategy presumes the ubiquity of broadband. News flash: quality broadband is not universal — at least here in the good ‘ole US of A. Our broadband is among the worst in the world. Within the US, there’s a whole class of people who can’t buy good broadband if they wanted to, namely those of us who live in the country. I’ve tried them all and for typical web use, they’re lousy. Expect “dial-up” performance for the most part. Streaming is a dream we can’t imagine. So CDs still serve a purpose for distribution.

      • Sounds Good

        I’m all for lossless, and even HD streaming in the future. Once the quality is there, shifting more to streaming makes more sense for me.

  26. Pat

    This is stupid. I would never pay a subscription fee to stream a song or album. Besides, how is anyone ever going to get the music in their personal collections anymore. Where I live, there are no music stores open anymore besides Wal-Mart, and they don’t sell the Electronic music I listen to. So, it’s like saying, I should just give up on music.

  27. KevInCali77

    The day Apple shuts off downloads, I will shut off Apple, respectfully.

  28. Marshall Rocks Country

    I hate this both as an artist, and as an avid music consumer. I love listening to music on my phone and ipod – and i get almost all of my music now from Itunes – not only do I not want to use valuable and expensive data to stream that music through my phone, but there are times I am unable to because I fly so much, and music is my primary source of entertainment when I fly. So if Apple actually does this – I’ll drop itunes and choose another service to get my music from. I’ll also drop them as an artist since they won’t be paying me anymore for music purchases.

  29. Mike

    What about the link of iTunes users to the sales of iPhones / other Apple hardware.

    The only reason I have had iPhones for my last three devices is the ease of use with the link between my phone and iTunes. I was always a Blackberry user prior to the move over.

    I collect CD’s and like my music in physical format, but I also use digital download. If I could not do that with Apple, I would change my phone and move to something else compatible with Android and have no reason to ever buy an iPhone again.

    I suspect there will be others like me

  30. Rick

    For a decade now record labels have been concerned about the large amount of “bullshit” on the internet which has been harming record sales, putting shops out of business, confusing politicians, turning grown men into teenagers and causing global warming. Invented in Japan in the mid 80s “bullshit” became ever more popular along with the growth of the internet gradually pushing traditional formats to the wall. Eventually faced with declining revenues major labels had no choice but to invest heavily in “bullshit” but it seems that the bubble has burst with many now forced to accept that fact that no amount of bullshit will ever convince the public who really love music that owning a physical format is a bad idea.

  31. auto

    You get what you pay for, and the market will stratify, so that free streaming will eventually just get garage bands and then fold, while top bands will start their own download operation and merge to a collective. Mid-range groups can justify lower download prices as an advertising expense, but still need revenue to promote and put on concerts. Business fills a need, and online businesses can pop up overnight. Somebody will do it. Kill the revenue for artists, and you kill music, and the talented musicians, composers, etc. will instead find paying jobs.

  32. AkA

    Album sales are still the benchmark of success in music. And ownership is hugely important to many music fans, including myself. It would just mark a return for me in buying CDs to rip. Ultimately it would probably just result in illegal downloads increasing again. Whether Apple decide to pull the plug on music downloads (which I highly doubt they would), other sellers such as Amazon, Beatport, Juno, etc. wouldn’t be so naive or arrogant as to think that this market is dead. Streaming by its very nature is a flawed and insecure technology that too reliant on third party hardware/software to be stable. You’d think the giants of the industry would be well aware of this.

  33. Damian

    Industries change. For a few rock stars for a few decades they were able to make a lot of money.

    Let’s go back to the days when musivians did it for the love of it.

    Would it really be that bad.

    Probably better. Rich musician have no heart. Nothing worth singing about.

    Now if it was teachers or nurses you were crying for…

  34. Edu Camargo

    AS long as Tidal keeps me purchasing hi-fi music, I’m alright. I’m part of that so called “small nich” which uses Foobar2000 on the desktop to really enjoy music, then I can use this incredible app to convert FLAC music to MP3 and then take those to my smartphone and use GoneMAD Music Player to hear music on the go. Thank you Apple for making me part of the whole evolution of music ownership without shiny discs. The only downside is that you don’t give people an option to buy as ALAC but… Well, let’s shrink that part. AS I said, Tidal already gets me covered.

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  36. J

    I refuse to use Apple Music. It obnoxiously turns itself back on and I just turn it back off. I work in some very rural areas and do not want my music breaking up, first of all. Secondly, I resent the Music app’s “Show complete album” directing to Apple Music. I don’t want that. I won’t use it. If I want it, I’ll download Spotify or switch Apple Music back on. Until then, just let me buy my permanently downloaded albums! I don’t want to vaguely recall a song in 10 years, go to find it and realize it’s no longer available due to licensing issues.