Apple Terminating Music Downloads ‘Within 2 Years’ – Digital Music News

Update: Apple has rebutted this claim.

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 focusing “not on if, but when” music downloads should be retired for good.

[…]

Part of the debate is that paid music downloads still account for hundreds of millions of dollars, worldwide.  According to an estimate revealed by music industry analyst Mark Mulligan at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, iTunes music downloads will still be worth $600 million in 2019, though that is down from peak revenues from $3.9 billion in 2012.

It’ll probably happen, but when? $600 million isn’t chump change, and the costs of maintaining the iTunes Store are spread across the different types of content.

Another wrinkle comes from recording labels themselves, especially independent labels. That group derives significant revenues from music download sales, and is expected to be express significant displeasure against any ‘premature’ shutdown. “It’s the past, not the future, but then you should know how the music business is,” one source noted.

There are labels that don’t allow their music to be streamed. Losing the iTunes Store would have a serious effect on them. Sure, one could say they have to catch up with the times, but it’s their right to be recalcitrant.

In any case, I don’t think this will happen in two years; maybe five, more likely ten.

Source: Apple Terminating Music Downloads ‘Within 2 Years’

12 thoughts on “Apple Terminating Music Downloads ‘Within 2 Years’ – Digital Music News

  1. The biggest issue I see with this is that there is still tremendous disparity in streaming catalog options from country to country; far more than with purchases/downloads. In the US the argument is compelling, but elsewhere? Not nearly so.

    I’m also unsure of the exact numbers, but are artists still getting stiffed on payouts from streaming? Isn’t it the lowest % royalty revenue stream for them? I’m sure they would have opinions on it too.

  2. The biggest issue I see with this is that there is still tremendous disparity in streaming catalog options from country to country; far more than with purchases/downloads. In the US the argument is compelling, but elsewhere? Not nearly so.

    I’m also unsure of the exact numbers, but are artists still getting stiffed on payouts from streaming? Isn’t it the lowest % royalty revenue stream for them? I’m sure they would have opinions on it too.

  3. It seems like media purveyors enjoy change for the sake of change, whereas an old dinosaur like me resents it. Music was made for purchase and perpetual listening, but they want to force my hand into a subscription model that makes me pay to play. In the TV realm, however, the movement is toward unbundling of cable channels. So I’m supposed to bundle my music (which I want to own outright, because I will listen to it many times over the years), but unbundle my TV, which I don’t care about keeping in perpetuity, because I rarely watch a show more than once.

    Why do I get the feeling that Apple is doing this not to serve my needs but to serve their own (I.e., driving Apple Music subscriptions). If they do go through with this I hope the Amazons of the world keep offering downloads instead of blindly following them. If not, the good old CD is still alive and rippable.

  4. It seems like media purveyors enjoy change for the sake of change, whereas an old dinosaur like me resents it. Music was made for purchase and perpetual listening, but they want to force my hand into a subscription model that makes me pay to play. In the TV realm, however, the movement is toward unbundling of cable channels. So I’m supposed to bundle my music (which I want to own outright, because I will listen to it many times over the years), but unbundle my TV, which I don’t care about keeping in perpetuity, because I rarely watch a show more than once.

    Why do I get the feeling that Apple is doing this not to serve my needs but to serve their own (I.e., driving Apple Music subscriptions). If they do go through with this I hope the Amazons of the world keep offering downloads instead of blindly following them. If not, the good old CD is still alive and rippable.

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