In May 2016, when a report claimed that Apple was planning to kill off music downloads on the iTunes Store in the near future, the company was uncharacteristically quick to deny the claim and set the record straight. Digital Music News, a website targeted at music industry professionals, had quoted an insider saying that the question was not if but when Apple would retire downloads in favor of its newly-founded streaming service Apple Music.
Music downloads have in fact been on the decline lately, as more and more consumers turn to streaming services instead. However, downloads are still worth hundreds of millions in annual revenue to Apple, the dominant market leader in that category. Moreover, as our chart illustrates, iTunes is still the most popular music platform among U.S. consumers. That is according to a recent PayPal survey on Americans’ digital media consumption.
Listeners aren’t the only ones who apparently have an interest in keeping the iTunes Store around for as long as possible. Record companies and artists will happily chime in given their repeated criticism of streaming services for not remunerating artists adequately.