Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures as he announces Apple ‘iTunes’ Music Store in the UK, France and Germany 15 June, 2004 at a press release party in London. The iTunes Music Store will allow music fans in the three countries the same large online2011 AFP
Apple is finally putting to rest the program that started a “music revolution.” iTunes, which helped usher in the mp3 era of music, will shutter after nearly two decades. Bloomberg reports the tech giant will announce the iTunes shutdown at a developer conference that begins Monday.
This development has been rumored for years, as subscription-based streaming services — including the company’s own Apple Music — have overtaken music downloads. According to the RIAA’s 2018 year-end report, streaming amounted to 75% of the U.S. music industry’s revenue.
It’s been over 18 years since iTunes was introduced at the 2001 Macworld Expo, offering a solution to an industry struggling with piracy. Since then, it has grown into a media behemoth, becoming a one-stop shop for users to consume media that includes music, movies, and TV.
But Apple is planning to divide these different types of media by replacing iTunes with three new apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. The company has already decentralized media on both iPads and iPhones, which offer the trio of apps. Now, it’s a matter of migrating Macs and Macbooks.
“By portioning out its music, television and podcast offerings into three separate platforms,” writes Rolling Stone’s Amy X. Wang, “Apple will pointedly draw attention to itself as a multifaceted entertainment services provider, no longer as a hardware company that happens to sell entertainment through one of its many apps.”
The Music app will reportedly keep some of iTunes’ key features, including song purchases and phone syncing. While the discontinuation of the landmark program feels like the end of an era, it also presents Apple with the opportunity to improve upon iTunes’ functionalities.