Apple Is Officially Shutting Down iTunes — But Song Downloads Aren’t Completely Dead

When Apple released an updated version of its MacOS operating system, it marked the end of the iTunes era. But even though iTunes is shutting down, your collections won’t disappear.

iTunes is officially going away after close to two decades in operation. The company has moved its functionality into 3 different apps: Apple Music, Podcasts and Apple TV.

The shutdown shouldn’t shock anyone. In June, Apple announced that it was shutting the app down for good.  The company said at the time that the app was simply too cluttered.  For years, users have been complaining about iTunes ‘bloatware’ as piles of different media categories kept fattening the platform.

Still, iTunes offered a central hub to the content the company offered. Now, with the release of Catalina, users will have to listen to music in Music, watch videos in TV, and listen to podcasts in Podcasts.

Those with large MP3 libraries can still listen to their songs through Music, despite the app’s focus on music streaming. What’s more, the iTunes Store still exists for those not subscribed to Music.  So people can still purchase individual songs if for some reason they do not want to use a streaming service.

Those who crave for the app still have an option: buying a Windows computer. For the time being, iTunes still runs on the enemy’s OS, including Windows 10 (pictured above).

Initially, Apple was expected to shutter iTunes completely.

Last year, numerous sources pointed to the imminent removal of iTunes and its music download store.  Importantly, sources noted that purchased downloads would be preserved and playable, but users wouldn’t be able to purchase song downloads in the future.  That raised some serious concerns, and even former Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine conceded that paid downloads would be terminated once demand dipped below a certain level.  It’s unclear what the level is currently, though Apple has opted to keep a version of iTunes (and its music downloads) running.

Apple launched iTunes back in 2003, well before the introduction of iPhones.

It was intended for the iPod, which was released a few years before it, and it revolutionized the music industry by allowing people to buy any song for $0.99 and most albums for $9.99. Many credit the app for not only turning online music into a viable business, but also for seriously denting the trafficking of pirated music.

In the years that followed, the platform added support for podcasts, ebooks, audiobooks, and videos. Later on, after the iPhone was launched, the app added more sophisticated features but also became more complex to use.

With the advent of Music, people generally only used iTunes to listen to songs unavailable on streaming services.

8 Responses

  1. Edu Camargo

    They should at least offer an option to buy digital music in lossless format for those willing to keep a digital collection in high quality. Tidal Store does that. But at least they did themselves a favor and killed a software that wasn’t even a masterpiece on their own system.

  2. James Paul

    What about the iTunes gift cards? I’ve got close to $100.00 worth are they going to be good should I use them or just throw them away?
    Thanks for you responce

  3. Arthur Dent

    Everyone claims it was getting hard to use, but it was still easier to learn than something like iMovie. I thought the app was fine, maybe a bit bloated and slow, but every so often Apple would give it a tune-up and then it would purr like a kitten again for a couple more years. The problem was the constant tinkering. They just couldn’t leave it alone. They’d get something right but then switch it up in the next iteration. So then I’d spend a few minutes on Google trying to figure out how to get the app to behave as it had before the update and presto, everything was back to normal and working great…until the next update of course.

    • Zanobia Zzapp

      Apple loves to “fix” things that aren’t broken and ignore those that are.

      Disgruntled Former Employee

  4. Roy Spann

    I have bought many singular compositions by searching the iTunes store.I don’t want the whole album simply to buy one song or composition. Where can I do that with iTunes gone? This was a service I miss a lot.

  5. heckuapple

    I can’t sign into any of that. So sad that I wasted so much money…will never spend another dime of any of their products again. Heck, at this point I’d be almost happy if I could just LOOK at my itunes library so I knew what songs I was listening to. When I purchased the songs, they never said they were going to expire. I hate how this company is constantly ripping off it’s customers just because they know they can get away with it. I bet apple spends millions of dollars every year on a PR team whose only whole goal is to see how terrible they can make the user experience.

  6. Gary Edward

    I was hesitant to buy a Mac after being a PC (microsoft) user for decades. However, I finally succumbed to the marketing of this product. After 2-years with this computer and its problems, and now with I-tunes going away, I’ve realized that I made a very expensive mistake.
    I am going back to microsoft PC. Yea, they have issues also, however, their software such as Excell, Word, etc. works better with more ways to accomplish a task easily. If you don’t load down a PC with a ton of software, They work just fine and better with more options.
    Apple you have lost me for ever, here I come Android and Microsoft.

  7. Kat in DDO

    I couldn’t disagree more with the author saying “With the advent of Music, people generally only used iTunes to listen to songs unavailable on streaming services.”. My friends and I all use iTunes for two reasons:

    a) We’ve carefully curated music playlists for different situations, such as Dinner Parties, Happy Hour with Friends, Romantic Evenings, Reading on Rainy Days, Long Car Rides, Lazing in the Backyard on Sunny Days, etc. iTunes is a great way to buy and organize our songs into these different playlists

    b) There is no way we are going to pay for Apple Music.