In 2017, physical sales of music outpaced digital downloads for the first time since 2011. The reason is simple? The person who was likely to buy a download is now more likely to be streaming the album instead. For the cost of one album, you can get a membership to get you a month of access to virtually the entire known musical universe.
With that in mind, Apple, the largest digital distributor of music, has long been considering stepping away from the digital download game. It looks like that armageddon is just right around the corner.
Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine told the BBC last week that iTunes will stop selling digital downloads "when people stop buying." A few days after the interview, Wall Street Journal reported Iovine would be stepping back from day-to-day activity at the company into a more advisory role.
Now, Digital Music News is reporting that an unnamed source within Apple is telling them that Apple's roadmap has set March 31, 2019 as the date they announce they will be phasing out music downloads. Previous downloads will always be available, but that is when they will begin phasing out new downloads. The source stressed all previously paid for music will always be available across all Apple devices.
It seems like an inevitability, with streaming very clearly here to stay. Do you buy digital downloads? Chime in and let us know.