Musical Space: The End Of iTunes

Jul 2, 2019

It looks like Apple is killing its music app iTunes. Introduced when mp3s were becoming the new medium, iTunes was a brilliant move for Steve Jobs, and perfect for the revolutionary iPod, and it soon made Apple the world’s largest music seller. 

But I won’t miss iTunes.

It was slow and bloated. It was a proprietary system - I didn’t like that all my mp3s were being called “iTunes,” or that Apple could know when I listened to them. And iTunes was unfocused, trying to be a device manager, a store, and a media player all at the same time. Apple is wisely developing separate apps to do these things, so not much is going to change for music buyers. You’ll still be able to listen to the music you’ve already bought, the music store will still exist, and iTunes will still work on Windows machines.

"Having Trouble Sneezing," Mark Mothersbaugh 

 

But selling music on Apple platforms looks to get even more frustrating for musicians. It’s always been hard for independents to get their product on the market - Apple won’t even talk to you unless you are a big label. Now it looks like Apple will be using the change to get us to switch to their streaming service, Apple Music.

Sales on iTunes actually paid artists fairly well, but Apple Music, like all streaming services, pays artists less than a thousandth of a penny per play. For creators to get the same income, fans would have to put a song on repeat for weeks. Looks like the bite of the apple is getting smaller.

 

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Listening list: music from Apple ads:

 

Vangelis, “Chariots of Fire” Chariots of Fire OST (1981). Played when Apple Inc.'s chairman Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh on Jan. 24, 1984.

Propellerheads, “Take California,” Decksanddrumsandrockandroll (1998). Song used on the first iPod ad in 2001. An example of “Big Beat,” an offshoot of “Acid House” style.

Wolfmother, “Love Train,” Wolfmother (2006). Used in an iPod ad.


 

U2, "The Troubles," Songs Of Innocence (2014). This was the album that Apple included in its products without asking, and requiring a hack to remove. Not their best work. Guest vocalist Lykke Li. Last time I looked, this album is still on my phone.


 

One album not available on iTunes is Sleepify by Vulfpeck. “Dean Town,” The Beautiful Game (2016)

 

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