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Apple to phase out iTunes music downloads in 2 years?

Apple may be planning to move away from iTunes Music downloads and offer a subscription-only platform within two years, reports have claimed.

According to Digital Music News sources (via MacRumors), the company has planning to wind down the option to purchase digital music tracks and albums.

The publication’s sources, who are said to have close and active business relationships with Apple, say executives are focused “not on if, but when” downloads will become a thing of the past.

According to the report, Apple plans to stagger the shutdown depending on how popular the Apple Music subscription service is within the different territories.

Related: Apple Music review

The report says tier 1 countries like the US and UK will be first in line, while a more gradual phase out over 3-4 years is also being considered, the report claimed.

One music industry executive quoted said “keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn’t really on the table anymore.”

Despite being available for less than a year, Apple already has 13 million paying customers paying around $10/£10 a month for access.

The company does not release figures for music downloads, but the growth of streaming revenue is already outpacing downloads across the industry.

One music industry analyst, Mark Mulligan believes Apple’s download revenue may be just a tenth of its streaming revenue by 2020… that’s if it’s still around.

Do you think Apple should keep the option to download individual tracks and albums around? Or is an a la carte solution superfluous in the all-you-can eat world of streaming?

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