Eighteen years ago, the launch of iTunes transformed the music business, starting a revolution in digital commerce.
At a time when people wanted to purchase music online, Steve Jobs had a solution: Charging between 99 cents and $1.29, iTunes gave us a legal way to download the songs we loved, without purchasing an entire album.
Overnight, our compact discs were downloaded onto computers. iTunes became a hub for all genres of digital music, leading to the development of MP3 players and iPods.
But just as cassette tapes died 30 years ago, 2019 marks the end to another musical era – sort of.
Apple announced the death of iTunes Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference. The recent technological shift towards internet streaming with Spotify and Apple Music has left iTunes in the dust, much like Facebook's lure over MySpace.
Apple said the iTunes app will split into three newly developed applications for music, television, and podcasts.
The transition is set for fall, when the macOS Catalina, the latest version of Apple’s Mac operating systems, debuts.
Your iTunes content, however, won’t just disappear.
In a press release, Apple stated, “Users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them, or ripped them from a CD.”
When Mac users update their software, music currently in the iTunes library will transfer to the Apple Music app. TV and movie purchases will go to the Apple TV app.
Windows users will see no change to their iTunes app; gift cards for the iTunes store will remain valid.
Word to the wise. You don’t actually own the CDs, DVDs, or books you digitally download onto an online service. Your purchase only gives you access to them. That's why you get them for a fraction of the cost of a tangible copy.
Consider being proactive and downloading your iTunes purchases, or send them to the Cloud, to preserve your music cache – just in case an unforeseen barrier to access appears after the transition.