Way back in 2001, before the Apple Watch and iPad and iPhone, it was the iPod that truly marked Apple’s rebirth. Free from the baggage of the floundering Mac platform, the stylish and convenient music player brought a level a mainstream awareness and coolness Apple never had but certainly does now. And key to the success of the iPhone was iTunes, an online music store way easier than buying CDs but way less illegal than Napster.
But while the legacy of iTunes will always loom large, it’s actual days may be numbered. Multiple sites are now reporting that according Apple industry insiders, iTunes will shut down at the end of this fiscal year on March 31, 2019.
Now don’t freak out just yet. One piece of this rumor that remains constant is that existing users won’t lose anything. You can keep listening to all the music you’ve already purchased on whatever devices (even a HomePod) you’ve already purchased. You can keep watching videos. And you can keep uploading files so you can keep listening when you’re offline.
However, after this shut down, Apple would stop adding new items to iTunes. You also wouldn’t be able to buy any new songs through iTunes. A big hint that this is true is that Apple has stopped letting bands apply for the featured spot on iTunes. An even bigger hint is that Apple executive and Beats co-conspirator Jimmy Iovine has literally said iTunes will shut down. He just didn’t commit to this March 2019 deadline.
But just because Apple is giving up on iTunes doesn’t mean it’s giving up on music. Far from it. Theoretically, the reason for this shut down would be to free up resources and improve Apple’s streaming Spotify competitor Apple Music. The loss of iTunes may hurt some on a nostalgic level (or not considering how many folks actually can’t stand the program and only put up with it because it’s Apple) but streaming is clearly the future of listening to music with modern tech.
We should also mention that other rumors suggest March 31, 2019 will only be the day Apple announces the iTunes shutdown, not the day of shutdown itself. That would give users plenty of time to prepare and pour one out. But regardless of when it happens, it seems like soon we won’t have old iTunes to kick around anymore.