Thursday, April 12, 2018

Eliminating iTunes Store Music Downloads in March 2019

Paul Resnikoff (via Dan Masters):

Apple is now experiencing meteoric growth on its streaming music platform, Apple Music. But that growth is directly impacting Apple’s old-line downloads store, for obvious reasons. And, ultimately hastening its demise.

Just last week, Apple executive Jimmy Iovine pointed to a shutdown when ‘people stop buying’. Now, sources inside the company are pointing to a firm date for a planned shutdown of the iTunes music download store. Earlier, these same sources pointed to an ‘early 2019’ shutdown, though internal roadmaps now include a March 31st, 2019 phase-out of the service.

Apple has denied that it plans to get rid of downloads, but the rumors persist.

I, for one, like downloads and have no interest in subscribing to a streaming service. If Apple eliminated downloads, I would probably start buying downloads from Amazon. I had been preferring the iTunes Store because of the integration with Apple’s devices.

If streaming becomes the only way to get new music, that would significantly reduce the value of existing collections of purchased music. Either your collection stays frozen in time or you have to subscribe to get new music, making the already purchased songs (at least those that the streaming service offers) redundant.

Also, I would expect the user experience for downloaded music to get worse, as has already been happening since the introduction of Apple Music.

Marco Arment:

Maybe it’s the end of certain distribution contracts, and they’re not worth renewing under worse terms.

Paul Frazier:

Problem with that is you can't use Apple Music songs in iMovie, so they'd need a fix for that.

Previously: Eliminating iTunes Store Music Downloads, Streaming Your Own Music.

10 Comments RSS · Twitter

Another aspect to subscription music is the fact that various songs can come and go in the catalog. Sometimes you need to buy a song because it is no longer available in subscription.

frankly, I'd like to see a "Buy Now" button/option next to everything in Apple Music, with more visual prominence if/when its unavailable for streaming. iTunes might go away, but buying music must still be an option.

I would say 90-95% of my digital music purchases are through Amazon already. But I would definitely miss them from Apple. Of course, I still buy a good portion of my music on CD and rip it, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. 8^)

Well, that prunes off another part of the Apple ecosystem that I will never use again.

Our primary way of getting new music has always been to buy a used copy of the CD and ripping it. However, we have bought some albums from the Apple music store in cases where buying from the store was cheaper. Subscribing to a music streaming service is not something we will ever do -- why rent music when you can own it?

If Apple stops selling songs it does not mean that your can't add new songs from other sources and continue to use service like Match.
If Apple stops offering Match it would force some users with collections to go back to manual sync.
Match already has issues and even though I like the utility of it a lot, I am thinking to abandon it. It's just not clear if Music app issues on Apple devices are due to Match or just iOS Music app bugs.
The most annoying bug is broken compilation view, when the listing does not show song names and artists, replacing them with repeated Compiled Album entry.
In general the direction to force user to subscribe is hostile. I already paid a lot to build my collection and for me the value of new music is lower.
If Apple force me to start paying I will fill cheated.
It feels like they really don't want to fix numerous iTunes and Music app issues related to music collections, why bother if it's all going to get abandoned soon.
Only few Apple products stay current, and the rest is neglected. The more products they have the higher percentage is neglected. Music is in their DNA, but most of it is in the dormant area.

Adrian Bengtson

I was very firmly in the own-your-music-camp for many years. I shuddered at the thought of paying for the access only and then loosing it all if i stopped paying. It seemed so stupid.

But along came Spotify here in Sweden and reluctantly I started using it and the concept grew on me. It was so frictionless (for the most part – not when I wanted to burn my own CD:s for the car) and suddenly I had access to so much more music than before.

The curated playlists (and some of the algorithmic) played a big part in this, there were so many good ways to discover new music that just wasn't there before, even better that radio. (Here in Sweden we have really good public service radio that can broaden your horizons when it comes to music, unlike the commercial radio stations that only plays hit music until your ears bleed.)

I was holding out, buying used CD's and MP3's elsewhere, ripping them as ALAC files, and then manually syncing them over to my phone. I stopped bothering with it recently because the Music app on iOS has basically changed from being a general music player to a streaming client for Apple Music.

You can keep ripping your CD's and buying online music from other sources as much as you want, but if the app on your phone basically only caters to Apple Music, it's going to be a degraded daily experience.

I still have all of that music. I can play it whenever I want (no DRM, either). But I switched to Pandora Premium and am pretty happy with it's autoplay feature and ability to create good "flows" of music. The suggestions seem very well picked. Audio quality is not too bad. I'm saying this as someone who used to hate the stuff Pandora selected (I think the Rdio buyout really helped here).

@Ben At least for now, syncing music files still works, and you don’t have to use the degraded Music app. Both Cesium and Ecoute are pretty good.

I'd also switch to buying from Amazon instead of signing up for Apple Music. I understand why some people like streaming, but its not for me. I have music I like to listen too, and that's all I need.

I enjoy having options. Companies don't like options, because it leads to choices and choices can lead to escaping closed ecosystems.

This is not an Apple problem, I think music rights holders who have been publicly complaining about not getting enough money from streaming secretly love the economics of constant payment to listen to the same music.... Frankly, Netflix does well with videos as a service, music will work fine as well. Radio has been around a long time, now you can pay for the ability to have your own custom streaming "stations"....Everything is a monthly service these surprises.

Ps Shout out to Real with Rhapsody for being here way before the current big dogs like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon, etc.

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