This past December, we wrote an article on reports that iTunes’ music download service was planning to shut its doors in 2019. At the time, there were only rumblings beneath the surface and some anonymous sources to push the narrative forward, but things are different now. Exiting Apple executive Jimmy Iovine recently spoke to BBC and revealed some harsh truths about iTunes and the world of music streaming.
“The streaming services are all charging $9.99 and everyone has the same music,” he told the publication. “And it’s really nice. You get whatever song you want, you get your playlists – but there’s got to be more interaction between the artist and the audience. Sooner or later, something’s got to give,” he said.
Indeed, the music that streaming services offer is becoming nearly homogenized, with only slight differences between Apple Music, Spotify, and TIDAL, supported by purely unsustainable exclusive deals. Iovine’s insight that more interaction is necessary is valid, and some platforms have tried to incorporate a social media aspect to their service. But with plenty of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and more already dominating the market, it will be interesting to see where music fits into the scheme of things.
Music downloads are also trending down across the board, and iTunes is feeling the pinch. Iovine says there’s no concrete plan set in place yet to shut down music downloads, but it’s coming eventually.
“If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying,” he said, on when the change could very well happen. “It’s very simple.”