Tech news: Downloads are history, iTunes is doomed

Fascinating analysis on Quartz:

One prominent music analyst is putting a date on it. Midia Research founder Mark Mulligan, who’s spent more than a decade scrutinizing the digital-music market, predicts the music download business will stutter at around $600 million in 2019—a depressing fall from $3.9 billion in 2012, when Apple’s iTunes Store (the world’s preeminent downloads platform) was at its revenue peak. In 2015, downloads declined by 16%, and they look to slide as much as 30% more this year.

By 2020, Apple’s budding streaming service, Apple Music, will likely be 10 times bigger than the company’s download business. “This is the point at which Apple would choose to turn off the iTunes Store,” Mulligan writes. 

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  • This is beyond stupid, and reflects an insane degree of ignorance.

    With the business now being streaming, the overhead necessary to keep the store ongoing is simply negligible, specially when premium content is abailable for download only.

    The download part of the business will simply remain at a fixed small niche.

  • I know that technology and society march forward, etc., but it’s a little hard to believe that iTunes (or digital sales generally) will be shuttered anytime soon.

    I love sampling from vast streaming catalogs, but those catalogs change over time.
    In our classical world, recordings go “out of the catalog” all the time. And labels change the mix of their recordings available on streaming services.
    A recording I loved last month may not be there next month. If you like it, and you want it, you need to purchase it.

    Apparently the kids today have a different relationship with music than the “older” generation (I’m 45, and can’t believe that I’m now the “older” generation). They love music, but any given song’s appeal is evanescent and the songs themselves disposable.

    By choosing streaming over ownership, it seems that they do not have a lasting relationship or acquaintance with a performance, and they do not mind when music goes away. The listen, but they do not collect.

    I think iTunes will still exist until the “old” generation of “collectors” dies off–or stops buying–and we are left with mere “listeners.”

    There are other implications of that shift, but I won’t seek to untangle them here.

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