Business Insider Slams DMN for Reporting that Apple Is Dropping Music Downloads

Business Insider: You know nothing of what you write.

Yesterday, Business Insider slammed Digital Music News for our coverage of Apple’s recent Apple Music launch in South Korea.  In the piece, ill-informed writer James Cook claims that not only is Apple not dropping music downloads with its move into Korea, but Digital Music News didn’t even check the iTunes application.  And, sort of made it all up.  “No, Apple hasn’t stopped selling music downloads in South Korea,” Cook asserts in his response title, while singling out our breaking coverage of the launch last week.

Just for clarification, it should be underscored that iTunes Korea is definitely not offering any music downloads, just streaming via Apple Music.  One of Business Insider’s problems seem to be that iTunes Korea didn’t previously offer music downloads, while blatantly ignoring the broader global iTunes and Apple Music picture.

Laughably, Cook also calls out ShortList for a similar story, not realizing that ShortList (and unnamed other publications) simply ripped off DMN’s article, including some of our screenshots.  Sadly, that sort of copycatting has become an almost daily problem for us, but that’s for another article (and yeah, we do name names, like Ethan Smith of the Wall Street Journal).

“Multiple websites are reporting that Apple has begun its plan to stop selling music downloads on iTunes, gradually forcing customers to subscribe to Apple Music,” Cook continues, singling out Digital Music News’ breaking story on the launch.  “It’s a worrying scenario, but there’s a slight problem: It’s not true,” Cook declares, while then cut-n-pasting DMN’s screenshot (and crediting Apple).

“The apparent evidence for those headlines is a collection of screenshots of iTunes in South Korea.  There aren’t any download options — just the option to stream songs on Apple Music. Apple has just launched Apple Music in the country, and so the screenshots make it look like Apple cut music downloads at the same time.”

All of which amounts to, well, calling bullshit on Digital Music News.  Which means, we get to call bullshit back on Business Insider.  Here we go:

1. For starters, not only did we actually test the iTunes South Korea application, yes, we took screenshots of the app while testing it out.  So, those are where those screenshots came from… wait for it: a DMN computer.

2. And by the way, thanks Business Insider for using the exact screenshot we published, and then crediting Apple for it.  And then using that image in a story while calling bullshit on us.

3. More importantly, the source for our story was a music executive operating a inside a major South Korean company.  So not only does this person know all of the details going on in the South Korean digital music market, this source also spent hours on the newly-expanded iTunes from an office chair in Seoul.

4. And, yeah!  Apple is definitely dropping music downloads in iTunes, which is why there aren’t any downloads in iTunes Korea.  Previously, there were apps in iTunes Korea, with no music service whatsoever.  Now, for the music expansion, they’ve only included streams though Apple Music.   Sorry if this article approaches Apple’s music strategy from a global perspective, see if you can handle it.

5. Incidentally, Business Insider, you might want to check out iTunes in China, where music downloads are glaringly absent.  So, I guess not having music downloads in two of the largest music markets in the world doesn’t count as ‘dropping music downloads’?

6. And yes, Digital Music News was the first to report that Apple was planning to phase out music downloads within 2-3 years.  They then denied that report in May, only to launch an iTunes music expansion in South Korea, the eight largest music market in the world, without music downloads.

7. And when iTunes finally nixes music downloads in mega-markets like the US, UK, and Europe, we’ll be sure to update this piece.

Your turn, Business Insider…


Point image by Sarah, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).





14 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Apple has never had deals with rightsholders to sell downloads in China or Korea, but not for lack of effort. If Apple could have gotten download deals done in those territories, there would be download stores in those territories.

    But I agree, conspiracies are more fun.

  2. Pretty Ugly

    Seems like they’re dumping downloads pretty obviously. Love the disinformation machine though.

  3. Anonymous

    I think Apple will continue to make downloads available in the US as long as it makes sense for them to do so. It’s up to the labels to keep downloads relevant, which they can easily do by windowing new releases as digital downloads only, and releasing them on streaming six months later.

  4. J

    Why are you doubling down? You’re wrong. You said Apple *stopped* offering downloads in Korea. This is false and you know it.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      What do you mean?

      Apple said they wouldn’t be discontinuing downloads. Then, they expand the iTunes Store into a major music market and don’t include downloads. It’s the same thing with China. Wordsmith it all you want.

      • Aldebaran

        That doesn’t mean anything. You are just taking some event and trying to misinterpret it as you would like to see it. Like you do with most of the news you publish.

        “You know nothing of what you write” – you know, this might be a too strong statement, but sometimes I feel the same about you guys. In lots of cases the information you deliver is not objective and the summaries you generate have no logical connection with what is actually happening.

        PS That being said, we all understand that you are doing all this simply to get more public attention, otherwise, with the actual info provided without all those controversial statements, the website would be deadly boring.

    • Anonymous Too

      IMHO, because controversy pays better than the truth.

  5. Sam

    The problem, really, is your misleading headline. “May: Apple Denies Plan to Drop Music Downloads. August: Apple Drops Music Downloads In Korea”

    Apple didn’t DROP music downloads in Korea, which implies it was once there then taken away. Apple never added downloads.

    these are two different things.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I’d argue this much differently. You can read the sentence two ways. iTunes’ expansion into one of the largest music markets worldwide doesn’t involve track downloads. You decide what’s going on here.

      Now, moving past that: let’s take a look at a market like Norway, where paid song downloads are now negligible. I’m sure you’ll fight me tooth and nail on the article I write when iTunes nixes downloads in that ‘tiny’ country. But you’re missing the bigger point.

  6. Danwroter

    Streaming and downloads involve different sets of rights. One neither necessarily includes nor precludes the other. If Apple never was able to secure download-sales rights in Korea, which appears to be the case, then introduces streaming, it’s inaccurate to say that they’ve discontinued downloads. You can’t discontinue something that never hapened in the first place.

  7. Wig Wam Bam

    It’s fine for comments to disagree but I find the aggressive tone of some comments unnecessary and unfortunate.

    Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t with what DMN writes.

    There’s no reason why an author has to adopt an aggressive or nasty tone in posting a comment just because they hold a different point of view.

  8. Smith

    Wow, you’ve spent so much time and effort on an article that set the record you portrayed straight. The point is that they never offered them in Korea and still don’t. DMN was misleading James Cook took probably 5 minutes writing a short simple article correcting you. Winner… James Cook. This reeks of desperation, Paul.