Apple reportedly set to discontinue music downloads from iTunes store

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Within two years, downloading music from iTunes will no longer be a thing, according to a Digital Music News report.

Apple still makes a lot of money from iTunes downloads, but by 2019 music industry analyst Mark Mulligan estimates they’ll be earning just $600 million (£415 million) from that source – a huge drop from the $3.9 billion (£2.6 billion) peak of 2012.

Apple Music is presented at an event
(Tomoko Ichizenya/AP)

Unsurprisingly, Apple Music is playing a big part in their thinking. The same analyst says Apple’s streaming service is set to have 20 million subscribers by the year’s end and that by 2020 the streaming site will be making as much money as iTunes was at its peak.

If this does happen, it’s likely to help streaming services – and not just Apple’s – grow even further. Major labels, whose profits are set to increase with the advent of streaming, won’t mind this at all – but independent labels that can rely heavily on downloads may feel differently.

Apple is yet to respond to the report.