An ode to iTunes – bidding the music service farewell

Apple delivered some upsetting news earlier this year when it announced that iTunes was at its end. It didn’t necessarily come as a surprise for many people, but it was still sad to see the music service go. After all, it had a significant influence on the music industry over the years, initially saving it from disaster when it first emerged. While change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to technology, we’ll still miss all the good times we had with iTunes.


Sharing music online

The way we consume music has changed so much over the last few decades. Once upon a time, people couldn’t even listen to their favorite songs on the computer. There was no iTunes, no Spotify, no YouTube – nothing. Then, at the end of the ’90s, Napster arrived and changed everything. This site essentially allowed people to share their music with others online, creating a vast database of free – and technically illegal – songs.

Although Napster was ultimately shut down in 2001, it brought a considerable change to the music industry. People discovered they could put music out there that others could download, essentially creating the piracy problem that’s prevalent today. However, what they didn’t realize was that they could capitalize on that. Fortunately, Steve Jobs was waiting in the wings to do just that.

The arrival of iTunes

The Apple founder launched iTunes in the same year that Napster shut down. Although the service didn’t offer an option to purchase music at that point, it did allow people to upload and organize their music. The attractive design and ease of use made the platform instantly popular, leading to the arrival of the iTunes store in 2003.

While this service didn’t stop piracy, it did prompt a lot of people to start paying for their music again. iTunes continued to grow in popularity, and it drove demand for internet access. Despite all the things that the internet offered, it was music that people really wanted it for. Of course, that just made Apple the dominant player in the music downloads business.


Full of clutter

As more people flocked to iTunes, Apple attempted to try and please the growing fanbase. They added new features intended to improve the user experience and make listening to music an event.

For a time, these developments were greatly appreciated, and they definitely brought a positive change to the platform. However, after a while, they stopped becoming useful and instead just cluttered up iTunes. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Apple from continuing to add new things into the mix.

Streaming takes control

At the same time as iTunes started to become too busy, the service also faced significant competition from the likes of Spotify and other streaming services. Suddenly, paying to download a song was no longer the go-to option for music. Now, everyone wanted to buy a subscription and have everything instantly available to them.

Apple met the competition by introducing their own streaming platform, but that wasn’t enough to save iTunes. The service had lost its identity, and the only way to rediscover it was to say goodbye. In its place would be three separate services designed to cater to music, podcasts, and TV respectively. These would still serve a similar purpose, but they wouldn’t be the iTunes we’d grown used to. That was gone now, and it wasn’t coming back.

Embracing change isn’t easy, especially when you’ve become accustomed to something. However, if you’re not willing to welcome the future, you’ll always be stuck in the past.