Apple is replacing iTunes with three entertainment apps, including a standalone version of Apple Music.
The company confirmed the rumoured move at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, earlier today (June 3).
Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, unveiled macOS Catalina, the latest version of its desktop operating system, at the event. Catalina replaces iTunes with three all-new apps for music, TV and podcasts to simplify and improve the user experience. However, the iTunes Music Store will remain open.
“With macOS Catalina, we’re bringing fresh new apps to the Mac, starting with new standalone versions of Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app,” said Federighi. “Users will appreciate how they can expand their workspace with Sidecar, enabling new ways of interacting with Mac apps using iPad and Apple Pencil. And with new developer technologies, users will see more great third-party apps arrive on the Mac this fall.”
The new music app is billed as being "lightning fast, fun and easy to use". Users will be able to access their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD.
Recent reported figures for Apple Music showed the streaming platform had around 56m subscribers, though that number is from late 2018.
Download sales have plummeted in recent years. In Q1 2019, digital albums dropped 27.3% to just over two million units, and Track Equivalent Albums slumped 24.1% to just 1.2 million units.
In the first quarter they were measured by the Official Charts Company, Q1 2005, they accounted for 408,330 sales. A year later, in Q1 2006, they accounted for 10,636,229 sales – an increase of over 2,500% in a year.
Two years later, downloads claimed between 95% and 99% of all sales in each quarter from 2008 to the introduction of streaming in January 2014.
The effect of downloads was never as dramatic in the albums chart, but peaked in Q4 2012 with sales of 6,310,938 (in market share it was Q3 2013 with 41%).
Apple’s financial results for its fiscal 2019 second quarter showed overall revenue of $58 billion (£44.5bn), down 5% year-on-year.
Revisit Music Week's report on the death of the download here.