Update: In a statement to ReCode, Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr said this report is “not true.”
If you thought Apple Music spelled the end of iTunes downloads, you may have been right. A new report from Digital Music News suggests Apple is prepared to kill iTunes Music off in as little as two years.
Citing sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Digital Music News claims it’s ‘not if, but when’ iTunes music downloads are dropped cold, with one executive saying “keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn’t really on the table anymore.”
Of course, iTunes downloads were in decline well before Apple Music was released, so the logic makes a bit of sense. Several timeframes for dropping downloads are being entertained, it seems, with a sub-two year drop-dead date being the earliest.
Discontinuing iTunes could even be staggered, just like Apple Music’s rollout. Those who had Apple Music first — like the US and UK — would potentially be amongst the first to see iTunes downloads disappear.
Once source says Steve Jobs would have killed iTunes downloads off when Apple Music was launched, suggesting Tim Cook is riding the download train for as long as it’s earning the company money (of course, that’s the same Steve Jobs who didn’t kill the iPod when the iPhone came out).
The move would also streamline Apple’s various music apps and services, which feel disparate at times. For instance: Apple Music and iTunes Match don’t have the healthiest working relationship. Then there’s iTunes proper and iTunes Cloud to consider, which have little place in the Apple Music ecosystem.
Of course, there are a lot of unanswered questions with this report. Virility is paramount, but also what Apple may do with the rest of iTunes, especially for desktop. Will the Movie, TV and Apps sections each get their own apps, or will Apple simply drop the mic on music downloads?