We’ve seen a number of rumours floating about - stating that Apple / iTunes is looking to suspend its iTunes Downloads Store some time around March 2019 onwards. The end result of this being less choice for consumers and still lower revenues for musicians - who already face diminishing returns across the board.
It’s likely another nail in the coffin of the Apple Eco-System (for me) and will probably accelerate my departure from the Apple platform - as Music has been one of my key determinants for sticking with Apple - I am still one of those old-fasioned guys who buys digital albums and downloads as I like to have total control over my music library. iTunes has already mangled my hundreds of playlists a number of times over the years - to a point that I can’t and don’t sync with iTunes any more - as there are no reassurances Apple won’t scramble those playlists again - and they take days to re-order and recreate. Moreover my music comes from all directions and includes a significant portion that is and never will be available on Apple’s streaming services.
I am a huge music fan, and apart from downloading music fairly regularly, I also pay subscriptions for Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal. However I am probably a bad deal for artists on those services, as most of my listening is still currently on my iPhone and on my downloaded MP3s - which means that not much of my monthly £10 or so fees is actually going through to artists - who only get a split of that per number of times their tracks are played.
These big companies are getting so far away from the consumer - or the musicians now, that I am predicting a significant backlash. I have seen increasing amounts of artists’ output ending up on Bandcamp - but for Apple / iTunes users - it’s tricky to get those tracks across to their devices - because of the still poor syncing of playlists which goes all the way back to iTunes 11.0.
In the wake of what is still happening on Facebook - it’s clear that these businesses have become too big for their boots and don’t have the customers’ interests as part of their core considerations in the slightest. Removing downloads is a bad deal for the consumer and for the musician. Once again it’s greed that’s in control here.
I don’t really care what the sheeple do any more - too many of them seem to have been indoctrinated by the system and don’t stand up for what’s right or wrong. Apple seems to becoming more and more a dirty corporation which puts its own interests too far above those of the consumer. It’s in fact the total opposite of companies like IKEA who typically look to the consumer first in their considerations. It’s about time people woke up to the fact that Apple is a profiteer and tax dodger - and the same goes for most of the larger US corporations currently who are posting record profits. Any company posting profits as consistently high as Apple just means that they are fleecing their customers. Apple’s high price strategy also gives other consumer electronics companies the excuse to inflate their prices too - just look at the inflationary costs of high-end mobile phones- which are now almost a pastiche of the ridiculously high prices Vertu phones used to go for.
I do hope those perennial suck-ups U2 stand up and be counted in all of this - this is not a good deal - Apple is in effect closing down a significant revenue stream for musicians - they should boycott Apple Music too - and go somewhere they are properly valued. All this is doing is reducing artforms into commodities and lowering the quality of services, it’s no wonder that vinyl sales are still growing so fast.
It seems quite evident that Apple is no longer anything like the sort of company it was under Steve Jobs. Apple has not really released any major innovations since the sudden passing of its talismanic leader. Steve was passionate about music and the arts, while the current Apple board only seem to be passionate about money.
In times past - companies which did well out of their consumers usually gave back a little the other way to reward loyalty and share that level of success. Yet all I see Apple doing is take and take some more. I have noticed that the proportion of Apple laptops in the workplace are starting to dwindle again as the super high price cannot be justified against overall specs and component use. Apple is very quick to focus on new processors and sensors, but kind of glosses over other areas where in fact older generation components are still being used. I still mostly admire the work of Johnny Ive and the overall aesthetics of the brand, even though there have been a few missteps recently. I’m just questioning though whether the overall service and level of pricing can still be justified versus what else is out there?