Apple to kill off iTunes as it embraces streaming music with replacement app

Andrew Griffin for The Independent:

Apple appears to be killing off iTunes, bringing an end to one of the most popular apps in history. The company is expected to announce its plans at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference, where it will reveal new software that will take the widely loved (and hated) app’s place.

For nearly 20 years, iTunes has been the primary way for people to buy, organise and listen to music. It was unveiled in 2001 and has powered generations of music listeners, as well as being associated with the rise of both the iPod and the iPhone.

But over that same period it has become controversial, becoming a slow and unwieldy piece of software when compared with Apple’s more recent software. It also came to represent a way of listening – buying songs and organising them in a local library – that has largely become surpassed by streaming…

As well as the music app, Apple is expected to release separate apps for videos and podcasts, which have also been a part of the iTunes app.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote after Steve Troughton-Smith leaked the news on Twitter back in April, iTunes will linger, likely for many years, it’s slow death will make life easier for users. Obviously, we’ve long believed that breaking apart iTunes into individual apps is an excellent idea:

Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, has shown a great and admirable willingness to cannibalize themselves. They obliterated their iPod business with the iPhone, for one example. But, when it comes to iTunes, they seem paralyzed by fear of change. Apple paralyzed by fear is not a pretty thing and it doesn’t yield pretty things. It yields hot messes like iTunes. iTunes screams to be broken up into separate, streamlined apps. It’s been screaming that for years.MacDailyNews Take, July 17, 2015


  1. Dear Apple, Update old apps and introduce new ones as you see fit, but please don’t screw up my playlists and delete irreplaceable songs from my library. I’m looking forward to seeing (and hearing) the future with you. Thanks!

    1. I’m hoping that the long delay means they are getting it right. Some of us have thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours invested in organizing our libraries. Maybe choosing to own your own music is old fashioned, but it is our choice… and should be.

  2. I’m not sure how many years (maybe since 2006) I’ve been using iTunes but fortunately I’ve never had any problems with it or my iPods. My library is only made of about 14,000 songs, so maybe it doesn’t come close to taxing its limits. However, I don’t mind if Apple changes the app if it works well for my current use. I now even use it for drag and drop music organization on my non-Apple music players. I have my music library backed up on three different Macs and two iPods, so even if something goes wrong with the new app, I should be safe. I’ve never lost any music with iTunes. I’m going to see the end of an era when the original iTunes goes away. I suppose change was inevitable and I hope Apple has done a good job with the next version. I’m guessing iTunes must be one of the oldest music organization apps around which is amazing if you think about it.

    Without iTunes I don’t think I’d ever have the song collection I have now as it’s always been so easy for me to use. All my music is tagged and with album or song art. I spent a lot of time on getting the correct song information.

    1. MDN supports whatever Apple is doing today, regardless of whether they were tearing another company down for doing it yesterday.

      Which is most of what Apple does now — just implements features that someone else implemented months or years before.

  3. In all the years it has existed I NEVER trusted iTunes to “sync” (aka torpedo) my music library, always in “manual” control and lived to tell the tale without unintended mishap.

    Apple never designed it to be respectful or even offer backup alternatives that would not end up inadvertently erasing files. I kept feeling like Clint Eastwood was asking “Do yah feel lucky punk, well DO YAH!!?”

    Anyway how can you have an app like this so eager to erase files it arbitrarily deems worth deleting that is a basic anathema to music collectors? SoundJam MP which iTunes came from was much better in this regard. And the simplicity beautiful.

    1. I do sync all my devices manually through iTunes, actually.
      If Apple wants me to squeeze stuff and use iCloud only, I’ll stop with iTunes and go for third party solutions. That’s for sure!

  4. Alongside this, isn’t there talk of Apple also getting rid of their song download store too? Those of us who bought DRM-free music from the store won’t have anything to fear with the new apps.

  5. ” – buying songs and organising them in a local library – that has largely become surpassed by streaming…”

    I do not understand this at all. I often travel for work. I need to be able to carry music with me for the driving — most of which is away from a cell signal. And I wouldn’t want to be eating up my data at that rate, anyway.

  6. Starting to look for alternative apps to listen to MY music. My entire library is MANUALLY managed, iTunes has stuffed up my library too may times to trust Apple. Any recommendations for non-Apple apps to listen to MY music?

  7. Uh! Will it break the local sync… and force those who hate iCloud to use it anyway?
    Will it force people to get the music from the store, enabling them to enter their CD collections?
    Don’t know, but some Apple decisions make me feel scarily uncomfortable…

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