A new report by Digital Music News is suggesting that Apple is gearing up to discontinue paid music downloads through iTunes in as little as two years. This could prove to be pushed back another year or two, but nonetheless the company, according to sources close with Apple’s plans, is apparently saying that music streaming services are overtaking the old methods of buying music, therefore they really don’t have a purpose to continue the service.
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 statement above kind of sounds like the current situation with the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. People want it there because it’s always been there, but since times are changing, it’s time to start biting some bullets and pulling some plugs. In the same way, iTunes has always been there, however since times are changing, it’s time to start making some decisions which will ultimately shape the future of music listening. I’m sure buying music will still be a thing in the future much like buying a CD is still a thing, however it just won’t be as common as pulling up Apple Music or Spotify and listening to your jams.
According to Digital Music News, iTunes music buying isn’t even on Apple’s table anymore:
…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.
With decreases in sales from music downloading stores, it’s clear that streaming music will be the new norm soon, and that seems to be a mindset Apple dwells on often. Remember, they were some of the first to use USB-C in one of their products because they believed it was the future. And even though that’s still a little ahead of its time since the whole world hasn’t switched over to USB 3.1, music streaming services are much more common, and that’s why Apple is talking about this subject.