Apple Aiming to End iTunes Music Downloads in Two Years [Update: Apple Says 'Not True']

newitunes122logoApple allegedly has an aggressive plan to "terminate" music downloads from iTunes within two years, reports Digital Music News citing sources with "close and active business relationships" with Apple.

Apple is also rumored to be considering a three to four year timeline for the shutdown of iTunes downloads, but overall discussions with Apple executives are said to focus "not on if, but when" the company should retire music downloads. Termination of music downloads could be staggered by country based on the popularity of streaming content in different regions.

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.

The timeline is unclear because Apple's iTunes business continues to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but it is on the decline due to the rise of streaming music services. According to music industry Mark Mulligan, iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million in 2019, down from $3.9 billion in 2012. Mulligan believes Apple's download business could be 10 times smaller than its streaming music business by 2020.

Apple is also said to be considering ending music downloads due to the confusion it causes with Apple Music, mixing downloaded music purchases with Apple Music content.

Late last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Music now has 13 million paying subscribers, up from 11 million users in February. Apple Music originally launched on June 30, 2015 in more than 100 countries and at its current growth rate, Apple is on track to have 15 million subscribers at its one-year anniversary.

Update: Apple rep Tom Neumayr contacted Recode and said the report that Apple would stop iTunes music downloads in two years is "not true."

Top Rated Comments

akm3 Avatar
64 months ago
I like to OWN my music.
Score: 144 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slix Avatar
64 months ago
This would be a big mistake I think.

I have no plans to ever subscribe to Apple Music or any subscription service, so if they shut down paid iTunes downloads, they'll be losing money from me every month, and my money would be shifted to other companies to buy my music, like Amazon or the physical CDs.

Don't do it, Apple.
Score: 94 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yg17 Avatar
64 months ago
Okay fine, I'll buy my music elsewhere. I have zero loyalty to iTunes.
Score: 93 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wolfshades Avatar
64 months ago
Oh go ahead and do it, Apple. Give me a reason to break away from the Apple ecosystem....
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BeSweeet Avatar
64 months ago
...but, why?
Because 8GB and 16GB devices are here to stay forever, I imagine :D.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
David G. Avatar
64 months ago
Apple is also said to be considering ending music downloads due to the confusion it causes with Apple Music, mixing downloaded music purchases with Apple Music content.
The village called. They're missing their idiot.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...
a13 bionic mockup

Apple Made Sudden Security Changes to its Chips in Fall 2020

Monday April 12, 2021 8:15 am PDT by
Apple made unusual mid-production hardware changes to the A12, A13, and S5 processors in its devices in the fall of 2020 to update the Secure Storage Component, according to Apple Support documents. According to an Apple Support page, spotted by Twitter user Andrew Pantyukhin, Apple changed the Secure Enclave in a number of products in the fall of 2020:Note: A12, A13, S4, and S5 products...
HomePod G4 Feature

Bloomberg: Future HomePod May Feature iPad Connected Via Robotic Arm to Track Users Around The Room During FaceTime Calls

Monday April 12, 2021 3:50 am PDT by
In a report outlining a possible Apple TV with a combined HomePod and camera, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that Apple is exploring a future high-end HomePod speaker that could include an iPad connected via a robotic arm that tracks and follows users around a room. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based technology giant, is also mulling the launch of a high-end speaker with a touch ...