If you’ve been using the iTunes Store for a while, you’ll recall that, since the beginning, Apple gave away a free single every week. Some weeks there were additional music freebies too, but at a minimum, you could grab one song per week for nothing.
It seems that this is over. According to a poster in Apple’s support forums:
“I contacted iTunes Support and they told me the decision was made to drop the free Single of the Week. Seems they don’t want people browsing the Store anymore. I told them that the free single each week got me to the Store and I usually bought a few songs. Now, there’s less reason to go. They’ve stopped the free single in other countries too.”
There is also no more Free on iTunes link in the Quick Links section of the iTunes Store.
As I noted in my review of iTunes 12 for Macworld, the iTunes Store no longer has a home page:
“Since each content library has its own iTunes Store tab, they go to the sections of the store that sell that kind of content. Clicking iTunes Store when you’re in your Music library takes you to the Music storefront. But this means there’s no longer a home page for the iTunes Store. You no longer have the chance to see a banner for a new movie, a best-selling book, and a hot album on the same page.”
I assume that ditching the free single, and the Free on iTunes link, is related to this decision, because the free single was always visible both on the general home page, and on the main page of the Music section of the iTunes Store.
There is still some free content on the iTunes Store: there are free episodes and teasers on the TV Shows page, and there are free apps each week on the App Store page.
One upside to getting rid of the free single of the week is that customers won’t have their music libraries clogged up by all those free singles that they downloaded and listened to once.