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Goodbye, iTunes: Apple To Shut Down Staple Of Music And Media For Good

This illustration picture taken on April 19, 2018 shows the logo of the Itunes app of Apple displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)
This illustration picture taken on April 19, 2018 shows the logo of the Itunes app of Apple displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

So long, iTunes. Apple announces it’s breaking up the digital jukebox. We look at how it revolutionized music consumption and what’s next for streaming music.


Ashley Carman, tech reporter at The Verge. Host the podcast “Why’d You Push That Button.” (@ashleyrcarman)

Nolan Gasser, musicologist, composer and architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. Author of “Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste.” (@NolanGasser)

From The Reading List

The Verge: “Apple breaks up iTunes, creates separate Podcasts, TV, and Music apps for macOS” — “The iTunes era is over. During its annual developers conference today, Apple announced that it’s breaking iTunes up into three separate macOS apps: Podcasts, TV, and Music. The update will come with macOS 10.15. The shift makes sense, and has already taken place on iOS. Apple Podcasts, for example, has been on iPhones and iPads for years, but never made its way over to macOS devices. iTunes itself is a relic of a different era in which people bought all their music and movies in one place, and it’s felt neglected and outdated for quite some time.

“The new apps feature colorful sidebars and clear menus that are easy to navigate, especially compared to the bloated iTunes. Apple Music, as the name suggests, is singularly focused on music and offers personalized recommendations while the Podcasts is dedicated to the podcast listening experience. Along with the podcast app, Apple says it’s introducing a new machine learning feature that indexes shows so that people can search for content more easily. The TV app will include Apple’s exclusive content along with other providers’ shows, including Showtime and HBO. It supports 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

“Apple is focusing on services to augment its hardware sales, so giving people a specific app to find specific content follows the company’s trajectory and new subscription offerings. The TV app, for example, is where the company’s new Apple TV Plus service will exist. People who use still used iTunes for syncing will no longer see an app pop up to do so. A phone or iPod will sync through the sidebar in Finder.”

Wired: “iTunes Is Dead. Let’s Pay Our Respects” — “At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference today, Apple executive Craig Federhigi made it official: iTunes is dead on the Mac, split in the upcoming version of macOS into separate Music, Podcast, and TV apps. In truth, the much-maligned media player had already been buried years ago, crushed by nearly two decades of cruft. But hating on iTunes at this point makes for cheap sport; WIRED’s been at it since at least 2008. It seems more fitting, at the time of its demise, to consider its powerful legacy.

“In January 2001, at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Steve Jobs described a tectonic shift in the types of devices people use and how they interact with them. ‘We think the PC is on the threshold of entering its third great age. And that age is the age of digital lifestyle. And that’s being driven by an explosion of new digital devices,’ said Jobs. ‘We believe the PC, or more importantly the Mac, can become the digital hub of our new emerging digital lifestyle, with the ability to add tremendous value to these other digital devices.’

“On iOS, iTunes has already been effectively sidelined by standalone apps. Doing the same on the macOS simply brings Apple’s offerings into alignment.

“Apple wouldn’t start selling its own marquee handheld digital device, the iPod, for another nine months. And while the iPod set Apple on a course to becoming one of the most valuable companies in the world, iTunes paved that road. It wasn’t perfect—and in fact, it was largely based on software called SoundJam MP, which Apple acquired in 2000—but in those early years it did bear the hallmarks of Apple at its best: simplicity, clarity, and singularity of purpose.”

The Guardian: “iTunes is over: what this means for you” — “This autumn, Apple will release the latest version of Mac OS, 10.15 Catalina, named after an island off the coast of Los Angeles. The update will come with a raft of changes to Mac apps, including the long-awaited demise of iTunes.

“The app’s core features will be split out over three new apps – Music, Podcasts and TV – as well as a few older ones. Music will continue to be the home of users’ downloaded music libraries, as well as how they listen to music streamed from the Apple Music service; Podcasts will control which podcasts they’re subscribed to and offer access to the Apple Podcast directory (as well as a snazzy new AI-powered transcription service that lets listeners search podcasts by content for the first time); and TV will host all the TV shows and films users have downloaded.

“Some changes are still unclear but it seems likely that audiobooks will be moved to the Books app, as they have been on iOS, and that some management of iOS apps will be handled in the Mac App Store app.”

Grace Tatter produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.