So Long iTunes and Thanks for Changing Music

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It is finally time to say good bye to iTunes.

Well not really.

Yes Apple is going to get rid of the iTunes app with the newest version of macOS, but all of your music/movies/television shows will just move over to Apple Music and Apple TV. It will be like it already is on one’s iPhone. If you do not have an iPhone, you will still use iTunes. Easy enough.

Since many news outlets are talking about the end of iTunes, let’s reflect on the importance of the little .99 cent music store that could. When iTunes hit the market I was wondering what I was going to do with all of my “illegally” downloaded music from Napster. I had a bunch of cds that were burned into my computer, but my Napster library was filled with some of my favorite songs that came from groups and/or albums I did not care for. I wanted to enjoy “It’s Raining Men” without having to purchase the whole Weather Girls EP. With Napster dying, Apple came in and let me buy my guilty pleasures, and it would only cost me 99 cents. Napster was free, but free was illegal, so Apple came in with a solution to my problems.

For a time iTunes changed music much in the same way that radio in the 1950’s and MTV in the 1980’s changed how we consumed the art form. Radio is nearly dead and MTV is now more of a legend, iTunes will follow those innovators into our collective memories. It is now time for history to be the place we talk about iTunes.

Like so many other things that Apple innovates, the competition was trying to come up with cheaper and more efficient ways to topple the giant from Cupertino. Microsoft came up with a few options (Zune and Groove we barely knew thee), lala came and went without much notice, Rhapsody tried to fill the Napster void with confusing software, and Amazon was starting to peek around the corner. In the end iTunes was king, until there was a new way to get our music.

Free was once again the dagger that went for Apple’s money making heart. When streaming services like Pandora and Spotify started to become popular, iTunes was not able to compete. The new streaming services on the block were free (with ads), iTunes was not. The new streaming services could be curated so a person could create a free radio station with the music of their choice. iTunes could only make playlists from the music you purchased. iTunes changed the music landscape with a pay per song model, the landscape was changed once again with streaming. iTunes was now being left behind.

Ironically it seems like Apple’s own streaming service (one you must pay for) will be the thing that puts the final nail into the iTunes coffin. The masses have moved on to the streaming services. Also you can now buy almost any song from Amazon for the same cost at Apple. It is more likely you will buy that mp3 from Amazon because you are already on the site buying everything else. Apple does not sell everything else. Many times you can buy a physical copy of an album, i.e. CD or vinyl, and Amazon will give you the mp3 version for free. iTunes was not the future path forward, and Apple knows it.

Like the innovators before, iTunes deserves our praise. Let’s all pour one out for the little 99 cent music store that could. So long iTunes, you made it ok for me to buy my favorite hits of the late 1970’s in a judgement free zone. I salute you.

RD

RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is now wondering if Apple is going to reinvent the world of monitor stands. I think not, that is one to many 9s.

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