A leaked memo says Apple is phasing out iTunes LP, and that’s being interpreted as “Apple isn’t going to sell song downloads on iTunes anymore.” The reported demise of iTunes LP doesn’t mean Apple is done selling music downloads. In fact, the big news here is that iTunes LP was still a thing.
Metro.co.uk says it saw the memo Apple sent to music industry executives. The memo states that new iTunes LP products won’t be accepted as of April 2018, and existing offerings will be phased out by the end of the year.
iTunes LP was introduced in 2009 as a way to bring the experience of an actual LP record to digital music purchases. iTunes LP purchases included liner notes, art work, videos, and more to go along with the songs. Apparently they haven’t sold well, so Apple is phasing them out.
Music fans who own iTunes LP albums won’t be left out in the cold. Any iTunes LP purchases you’ve already made will still be available for download.
iTunes LP and the Demise of Music Purchases
The memo warning of iTunes LP’s eminent demise is being held up as proof Apple is ready to end digital song and album purchases. Rumors, according to Metro.co.uk, are pointing to Apple doing just that and pushing everyone into Apple Music subscriptions.
Apple Music is Apple’s streaming music subscription service. For US$9.99 a month you get unlimited access to 45 million songs you can stream to your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and HomePod. Like Spotify, Apple Music is appealing because you can listen to a much wider selection of music compared to individual song and album purchases.
While streaming music services are gaining popularity, they haven’t killed off traditional and digital music sales yet. That’s not a market Apple, Amazon, Google, and the record labels are ready to walk away from yet.
Instead, what this means is that iTunes LP content doesn’t sell well, studios aren’t making any significant money off of them, and Apple is done paying for the infrastructure to support them. iTunes LP is going away, not iTunes music sales.