With Apple Music now compatible with embeddable widgets, the Cupertino-based company takes yet another step back from iTunes. Here’s why that’s a great thing.
Several months ago, Digital Music News shared some pretty interesting news.
Sources inside the company confirmed that Apple would shut down iTunes in ‘early 2019.’ Specifically, internal roadmaps showed that the Cupertino-based company would phase out the service on (or around) March 31st, 2019.
The news makes sense. Just a week earlier, Jimmy Iovine, the former Global Head of Apple Music, said that the company would shut down when “people stop buying.” Just a single financial quarter later, we found out that Apple now makes more money from its Services division. Last month, Services revenue totaled $9.2 billion in revenue. This includes, of course, Apple Care, Apple Pay, the App Store, and cloud-based services.
Even more interesting, during its Q2 2018 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook didn’t mention iTunes music downloads – not once. Separately, we’ve heard projections of music downloads slipping 40% year-over-year by Christmas.
Now, the company has taken a step back from iTunes once more. And, this will ultimately help Apple better compete in the streaming music market.
Finally, stream Apple Music from your web browser… sort of.
Ahead of the company’s WWDC presentation, a single user on Reddit noted a feature previously unseen on Apple Music. The company had “accidentally enabled” streaming from its web player. Users could now listen to full tracks from embeddable widgets after signing in.
Apple confirmed the news today at its WWDC conference. The company has updated its MusicKit developer software. So, web developers can now allow music fans to stream their songs, albums, and playlists on embeddable music players.
This marks the first time that music fans can listen to complete tracks without needing iTunes. Previously, users with Apple Music subscriptions had to launch iTunes after 30 seconds. These embeddable widgets now sport sleek sign-in buttons.
The feature, however, remains inconsistent for the most part. Some users have reportedly had success streaming tracks on the widgets. Others haven’t. They’ve reported only streamed 30-second samples, despite having an active subscription to the service.
So, what does this mean for the future of iTunes?
Simple. Apple won’t have to depend on the service any longer.
In the near future, users on Apple Music will likely stream full tracks on browsers sans embeddable widgets. Keep in mind that competitors, including Spotify and Deezer, have already enabled this feature years ago.
This, in turn, will allow the streaming music service to better compete in countries where people don’t frequently use Apple products – something the service needs to ultimately dethrone Spotify worldwide.
Just take a look at India. After nearly three years on the market, the company’s streaming music platform only has a 0.1% market share. A big part of the reason for that is Android, which has overwhelming smartphone dominance in India.
Ditto for music fans in South Korea. Android devices currently have a 73.3% market share in the country. iOS devices – mainly iPhones and iPads – only have a 26.5% market share. That explains why – despite launching there two years ago – Apple Music tied with Samsung Music with a 4.6% market share.
Featured image by Apple.