iTunes was surrounded by family and friends at Apple’s annual developer conference when Apple executives announced that it would be dismantled, and its features would be split among three apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV.
iTunes entered this world 18 years ago as a “digital jukebox” that let users import their favorite CDs, organize their libraries and burn custom mixes. It then became a music store of its own — a magical, one-click emporium where 99 cents could get you almost any song under the sun. Steve Jobs heralded its birth as the dawn of a new age of media consumption, one in which consumers would own the digital rights to their own music.
But nothing gold can stay. And in the early part of this decade, subscription music services like Spotify and Pandora, which offered an all-you-can-eat bacchanal of music for a monthly subscription fee, began to eat away at Apple’s advantage.
Ultimately, Mr. Jobs’ prophecy was wrong. People wanted to rent access to a centralized streaming library, not pay a small fee to own every song. As streaming services grew, sales of music downloads plummeted. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, downloads now make up a smaller percentage of recording sales than physical albums
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