Apple will begin shutting down iTunes Store music downloads on March 31, 2019.
That’s according to industry insiders who claim a phase-out of the service may help the firm keep up with a subscription-based streaming platforms such as Spotify.
The news follows a leaked e-mail last month that revealed Apple will stop taking new iTunes LP submissions ahead of more widespread changes.
The firm’s own streaming service, Apple Music, has enjoyed growing popularity with around 40 million paid subscribers.
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Apple will begin shutting down iTunes Store music downloads on March 31, 2019., according to industry insiders. They claim a phase-out of the service may help the firm keep up with a subscription-based streaming platforms such as Spotify
The sources, speaking to Digital Music News, said users would be given ‘ample warning’ of the upcoming phase-out.
The source also stressed that existing music downloads will always work on all Apple devices and the iTunes platform.
An Apple Music executive has previously confirmed that music downloads would be terminated, although an exact date wasn’t given.
‘If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying,’ the executive, Jimmy Iovine, told the BBC. ‘It’s very simple.’
Last month, an internal e-mail, titled ‘The End of iTunes LPs’ was leaked to the Metro.
The email was sent two weeks ago from an address at ‘The iTunes Store,’ and was signed by ‘The Apple Music Team.’
The email said that ‘Apple will no longer accept new submissions of iTunes LPs after March 2018.
‘Existing LPs will be deprecated from the store during the remainder of 2018.
‘Customers who have previously purchased an album containing an iTunes LP will still be able to download the additional content using iTunes Match’, the email read.
The anonymous source who leaked the email to Metro told the publication: ‘It’s clear that streaming is the future. Apple wants to push people to take out subscriptions.’
The news follows a leaked e-mail last month that revealed Apple will stop taking new iTunes LP submissions ahead of more widespread changes
Industry experts believe this could indicate Apple will pursue a subscription-based outlet similar to the business model of Spotify (pictured), the largest online music streaming platform in the world
While Metro reported that LPs would be removed from iTunes, Apple confirmed to tech site The Verge that existing LPs will continue to be available.
At the time, Mark Mulligan, an analyst at MIDiA Research and music industry blogger, told the Metro that the announcement was ‘potential evidence’ of Apple’s future plans.
‘This could show Apple will turn off its download store at some point,’ he said.
‘At some stage in the future, Apple having an iTunes music store will be as incongruous as Currys selling black and white TVs.’
ARE PRICES FOR SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC AND PRIME MUSIC GOING TO RISE?
Music streaming services, like Apple Music and Spotify, could be set to raise subscription prices, following the decision to increase royalties for songwriters and music publishers.
Earlier this year, a federal copyright board raised the music streaming royalties for songwriters and music publishers by more than 40 per cent to narrow the financial divide separating them from recording labels.
The decision stemmed from a long-running dispute that pitted songwriters against steadily growing music streaming services sold by Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and Pandora.
The Copyright Royalty Board’s decision will require those services to pay 15.1 per cent of their revenue to the songwriters and publishers, up from 10.5 per cent.
Music streaming services could be set to raise subscription prices, following the decision to increase royalties for songwriters and music publishers
The music publishers association hailed the ruling, stating that it represents ‘the most favourable balance in the history of the industry’.
None of the major companies affected by the new music streaming royalties have confirmed whether the shift will prod any of them to raise the prices paid by consumers.
The popularity of music streaming services has soared in the past few years as more consumers have embraced paying a monthly or annual subscription fee for unlimited access to tens of millions of songs instead of incrementally buying a more limited amount of music on CDs or in a digital download.
Those changing habits have pushed artists, songwriters and publishers to step up their efforts to get a larger cut of the royalties generated from music streaming – a format that didn’t even exist when some performers signed their last record deals years ago.
The Copyright Royalty Board drew up the new rates for songwriters and publishers after hearing evidence during a trial held in 2017.
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