It’s Official: iTunes Be Dead

You may have liked it, you may have hated it, either way it no longer matters: Apple‘s original digital music jukebox, iTunes, is dead.

The company announced the decision to kill off the platform on Mac at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose after a weekend of rumours that the clunky platform would finally be given the boot.

iTunes Music Store will still exist and Microsoft users will still be able to use the last version of the system, but for everyone else the iTunes app itself will be split into three seperate blocks – podcasts, TV, and movies.

While the iTunes interface has been consistently derided for years, there’s no doubting what a huge role it played in the current reality of music.

Launched in 2001, iTunes countered the rise of illegal pirating services likes Napster and Limewire and also represented Apple’s first big move to make (reluctant) friends with longtime competitor Windows, making the app available on Bill Gates’ machines in 2003.

While it became clunky over time as Apple seemed to add every sort of media under the sun to the iTunes banner, it is because of iTunes that services like Spotify and TIDAL seem so normal. It is because of iTunes that we now so readily digest music digitally.

Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the company will roll out a desktop app for podcasts, an Apple TV app for its video content, a music app (meaning those with an Apple Music subscription don’t need to worry) and an Apple TV+ subscription service.

“Apple Music in [new operating system] Catalina is the best music app we’ve ever made,” said Federighi.

iTunes arrived to kill off pirating and to embrace mp3. Ultimately, it was outfoxed by slick newcomers and the rise of streaming. Music is online and more accesible than ever now – even if there’s a vinyl resurgence – and we have iTunes to thank.

RIP to a real one.