RIP, iTunes? Apple rubbishes rumours it’s planning to kill off downloads

Fresh rumours are circulating that Apple may be preparing to wind down iTunes music downloads in 2019 due to a loss of interest from consumers. Now, the Cupertino-based company has issued statement addressing the claims.

The sources, which include an internal statement from Apple exec and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, have said that the company will start to wind down its music download business once consumer attention declines far enough, according to DJMag. The consensus appears to be that this could happen in just a year’s time, at the start of 2019.

This would be bad news for Apple, were it not for the fact that the company has been preparing for a post-downloads future for some time now with its Apple Music streaming service.

However, Apple has subsequently issued a short but to-the-point press statement regarding the rumours it’s planning to kill off iTunes in 2019.

“It’s not true,” a company spokesperson said.

Even in 2019 the music download is unlikely to die out completely. Even if Apple does end up killing iTunes next year (which it now says it won’t), the same sources have said that users will continue to be able to access their existing iTunes library, meaning you won’t be forced to subscribe to Apple Music to listen to a song you already own.

Outside of Apple it’s likely to be a similar story across the rest of the music industry, but we don’t think we’ll ever see the music download die off completely. First is the fact that there’ll always be those who prefer to buy rather than rent their music so that they can guarantee offline access, but secondly is the fact that streaming of hi-res audio is still in its infancy.

Technologies like MQA are making it possible for services such as Tidal and Deezer to stream hi-res audio using the same bandwidth as CD-quality files, but currently neither Apple Music or Spotify even stream in CD-quality, let alone hi-res.

Apple might be preparing to get out of the music downloads business, but much like the music player outlived the iPod, music downloads are going to exist far beyond iTunes.

Not that it’s going away anytime soon.

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