CD Ripping Service
In the world of Apple there are rumours, "fake news" and all sorts of fanciful speculation. It's been that way ever since I've been using Apple computers so I hesitate before I respond. Remember, I'm the person confidently forecasting a super-giant iPod Classic running on solid state memory and that's no more likely today than when I first suggested it a decade ago.
So I've hesitated before saying this. Deep breath, here goes - Apple will shutter iTunes Music Store by the end of this year.
That will be it. No more 79p tracks and £7-99 albums. No more chance of U2 suddenly being foist upon you. The buy button will be no more.
What does this mean? Well, anything you've bought will continue to be playable. At the moment if you suffer a data corruption you can re-download purchases from Apple. I've not seen any suggestion on how that could be handled. My suspicion is that if you corrupt your local copy, that will be it.
For a while there have been two levels of cloud service. One, where your music is loaded to their cloud and you can access that either on the go or from a remote location. My guess is that will end. The second is access to the iTunes catalogue as a streaming music service similar to Spotify. My expectation is that will continue with the first type of account being encouraged to upgrade / spend more to get unlimited access.
The impact on you? Mostly I don't think people will notice. The first cloud option wasn't massively popular and was a trifle user-hostile. Younger consumers have been educated to expect all-you-can-eat music streaming services. You can access these on the ubiquitous iPhone so they'll sail on quite happily.
If you used Apple to "buy" music then indeed you'll be hit, but very few people I've come across do that any longer. Should you want to purchase music in future there's always Amazon who might benefit from a sales boost.
Personally it helps us, people who love music have found streaming services are often limited. Should you have an affection for classical music, rock music and folk do you really want to have to sign up for three streaming services? And hop from one app to another to assemble an evening's worth of music? Don't forget too, three monthly fees.
I believe the big losers will be second tier artists. Compared with Spotify and the like they got a higher payout per track or album. Take YouTube, their payments make your eyes water by comparison to iTunes. Sure the big guys will continue to do well, the small fry have never made money under any model, but for the also rans the pressure to perform will increase.