• Apple to be Terminating iTunes Music Downloads in Two Years [u]

    Apple has jumped on the bandwagon last year with Apple Music, but apparently there are some bigger plans in the works.


    According to a report published recently by Digital Music News, Apple is currently considering a variety of different plans that, ultimately, see the termination of digital music downloads from its iTunes service. One of those plans could see the end of music downloads in the next two years, which appears to be the most aggressive plan Apple has considered.

    Another plan, according to the report, which cites individuals with “close and active business relationships,” suggests Apple is considering terminating music downloads between three and four years from now. While a timeline can’t be pegged down just yet, the report states that Apple is having “not on if, but when” conversations for music downloads from iTunes, putting a sort of inevitability on the whole subject — if the report is true.

    That could mean seeing music downloads in iTunes being phased out in waves, based on territories, like in the United States first, and then in other countries later:

    “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. […]

    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.”

    iTunes downloads still bring in a ton of money for Apple, in the hundreds of millions, but streaming content continues to steal some of the attention away from owning downloads. To compare, in 2012 iTunes music downloads were worth $3.9 billion for Apple. Mark Mulligan, a music industry analyst, says that in 2019 Apple’s iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million, based on the current trends leaning towards streaming music.

    Another reason Apple is said to be considering this move is Apple Music, which, primarily focuses on paid subscriptions to access streaming content from a wide range of artists. As it stands now, the service has garnered 13 million subscribers since launching last year. Even Spotify, one of the most popular streaming services available, saw a shot in the arm for its business after Apple Music launched.

    Update: Apple confirms that it will not be removing iTunes Downloads.

    [via MacRumors; Digital Music News]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple to be Terminating iTunes Music Downloads in Two Years started by Caiden Spencer View original post
    Comments 43 Comments
    1. mrrom92's Avatar
      mrrom92 -
      Shame. Stopped before they ever even started. I was looking forward to them finally offering lossless downloads. Looks like they don't cre about the customers who prefer to actually buy their music.
    1. xboxbml's Avatar
      xboxbml -
      Total crap if u ask me...I'm pretty sure my generation won't stand for it...I know even now we really don't own it in the traditional sense but I want what I want on my device...I will NOT stream everything..
    1. aceestes's Avatar
      aceestes -
      Apple already responded to this and said its not true.
    1. Caiden Spencer's Avatar
      Caiden Spencer -
      Quote Originally Posted by aceestes View Post
      Apple already responded to this and said its not true.
      Source?
    1. aceestes's Avatar
      aceestes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Caiden Spencer View Post
      Source?
      Apple says it isn't going to stop selling music downloads - Recode
    1. Caiden Spencer's Avatar
      Caiden Spencer -
      download sales are in a steady decline and have been for some time. Download sales in the U.S. dropped from $2.8 billion in 2013 to $2.3 billion last year, according to the RIAA industry trade group.
      hmm..
    1. ggrassmid's Avatar
      ggrassmid -
      Guess CD sales will go back up... HAHA

      Since cell service isnt 100% everywhere and people want to listen to music when they dont have cell service.
    1. NewD's Avatar
      NewD -
      Quote Originally Posted by aceestes View Post
      Apple already responded to this and said its not true.
      Exactly. Not even the most profitable company on the planet can afford to give up 2.3 billion a year. Downloads are here to stay for sure. A download song and a streamed song are entirely different animals anyway. Like comparing socks and ham. You want "either" a download OR a stream. No person wanting the download would be satisfied with the stream. So it's kind of a silly rumor if you ask me.
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      2.3 billion now, but if it were to drop to 600 mil in a few years, Apple will def take a hard look at doing this. It's not about customers with Apple, it's all about profit.

      You gotta answer to the shareholders first!
    1. Rakim's Avatar
      Rakim -
      I don't believe that they are going to be changing anytime soon. Because as stated in the earlier response it would be like a step BACKWARD, however as King O Hill said, if it becomes way less profitable ANY company, ESPECIALLY THOSE with publicly held shares would be foolish to not review their revenue streams.... Because at the base of it all APPLE is a FOR PROFIT COMPANY..
    1. Sage I's Avatar
      Sage I -
      I spent hundreds a month buying from iTunes for years until Apple Music came out and now I don't download from iTunes since... I have since been ordering CD's from Amazon of albums that I'm super stoked on because after a while the streamed version is ok just not nearly as nice as a CD though... I personally believe that CD sales and physical music stores are gonna make a come back... I love music too much to just be satisfied with a Pandora One and Apple Music subscription...
    1. aceestes's Avatar
      aceestes -
      Download sales will for sure drop over the next few years but eventual it will taper off. There will always be individuals who don't want to pay a monthly fee for music. Also people like DJ's and such who don't want the restrictions of streamed music.

      As far as physical media goes, it will continue to exist but will never make a comeback. The majority of the world has a smart phone these days that even the cheapest of are perfectly capable of storing and playing hundreds of songs verses the extreme limitations of physical media. Hell even video games are moving away from physical media. By PlayStation 6 there probably won't even be anymore disc drives. Apple clearly doesn't think they're necessary.

      A bit of a tangent but yea.
    1. Sage I's Avatar
      Sage I -
      I think once younger generations experience music that hasn't been streamed and compressed they will want to hear high quality... Streaming music will be extra amazing when it's at lossless everywhere... I had streamed an album by Future called Beast Mode on Apple Music for a few months, it was then taken down and so I found it on YouTube and listened to it there for a few months, then I streamed it from Amazon Prime cause the sound was better than YouTube, finally I ordered the CD from Amazon. The Beast Mode CD sounded like a whole new album on my car stereo and home stereo... I can't keep settling for compressed music exclusively even though it is convenient...
    1. aceestes's Avatar
      aceestes -
      That's the thing. Future generations won't have the speed and bandwidth restrictions we have. And actually we don't have long before those restrictions are gone.
    1. hopethemodworx's Avatar
      hopethemodworx -
      Apple already made a statement denying this rumor.
    1. djaquapimp's Avatar
      djaquapimp -
      I too was looking forward to lossless and high-res audio offerings I read about previously. Hopefully that is still in the plans and this is indeed not true.

      Quote Originally Posted by Sage I View Post
      I think once younger generations experience music that hasn't been streamed and compressed they will want to hear high quality... Streaming music will be extra amazing when it's at lossless everywhere... I had streamed an album by Future called Beast Mode on Apple Music for a few months, it was then taken down and so I found it on YouTube and listened to it there for a few months, then I streamed it from Amazon Prime cause the sound was better than YouTube, finally I ordered the CD from Amazon. The Beast Mode CD sounded like a whole new album on my car stereo and home stereo... I can't keep settling for compressed music exclusively even though it is convenient...
      Yeah but you don't need a physical CD to actually have lossless CD quality. A CD is actually limited to 16-bit/44.1k. Most studio masters are done in 24-bit/96k or even 192k sample rate. You can rip CD's in a number of lossless formats (WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, APE to name a few) and it will retain the exact audio quality as the CD a.k.a. Lossless. For iDevices ALAC is recommended.

      These containers are also capable of playing the high-res audio masters if you can get your hands on them.

      A vinyl record is actually capable of producing a better sample rate than a CD if it was produced with a professional 24-bit/96k master.

      Audio CD's aren't capable (data disc, DVDs & BluRay can I believe) of playing those high-res masters but many devices are starting to support it. There are also places online to buy high-res audio now but the selection is not that big.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Haven't been able to tell the difference in anything over 16/44.1 yet—or even MP3 v0 or 320—although I haven't tried very hard on the MP3s and I listen to everything in CD quality right now. In a few months I'll have my Fostex TH-X00 headphones and a new DAC/amp (major upgrade from anything I've ever listened on), so I'll see then if I can suddenly distinguish between every format ever created. I won't be willing to spend more money on equipment after that for a while though lol.
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      Doesn’t NewD work with professional audio masters? What’s he have to say on it?
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiderManAPV View Post
      Doesn’t NewD work with professional audio masters? What’s he have to say on it?
      I talked with him about it one time. I told him that I think 24/96 is better for recording and creating masters, but it can be sampled down to 16/44.1 afterwards with no audible loss in quality (based on something I read), but he didn't seem to get what I was trying to say. He said he can hear the difference between 24/96 and lower formats though, which I would think is possible if you're in the studio dealing with something recorded with 16/44.1 vs. 24/96.
    1. djaquapimp's Avatar
      djaquapimp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      I talked with him about it one time. I told him that I think 24/96 is better for recording and creating masters, but it can be sampled down to 16/44.1 afterwards with no audible loss in quality (based on something I read), but he didn't seem to get what I was trying to say. He said he can hear the difference between 24/96 and lower formats though, which I would think is possible if you're in the studio dealing with something recorded with 16/44.1 vs. 24/96.
      With my M-Audio sound card that outputs 24-bit/192k paired with my Mackie studio monitors I can definitely hear and feel a difference. I've also tested on pro-audio setups for large festivals and you can DEFINITELY feel even more of a difference.
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