Sources with “close and active business relationships with Apple” have reportedly told Digital Music News that Apple is planning to kill off iTunes music downloads. With sales of the once popular download service falling, Apple is planning to re-focus its efforts on live streaming through recently formed Apple Music.
Upon its introduction 13 years ago, the iTunes store revolutionized digital music downloads making easy and legal to obtain. iTunes hit its peak in 2012, but since then have been steadily falling, dropping 16% last year. Analysts expect this trend will continue and predict sales will fall another 25 to 30% in 2016.
Digital Music News reports that sources are considering two plans, one, to aggressively kill off iTunes within two years, or two, to wind it down more slowly over three to four years.
Apple has been striving to make Apple Music a success since its launch a year ago, and is expected to unveil a big update to the service at its annual developer’s conference this June. Forces within the company, however, remain loyal to the iTunes approach and the profits it has generated.
Historically, Apple has had a culture, fostered by Steven Jobs, of aggressively phasing products out in favor of new ones, even if the older products were still earning money. That now legendary, gutsy approach to business may not mesh with the less gutsy approach of current CEO, Tim Cook.
It seems however that given potential consumer confusion, sales projections, and perceived future direction of the music industry, Apple Music’s streaming approach will win the day.
“If he were alive, Jobs would have killed it,” one source stated. If reports are correct, the death of iTunes may certainly be on the horizon.
Chart via DigitalMusicNews.com