The Rise and Fall of iTunes

Launched in 2001, iTunes has revolutionized the music industry and has come a long way - from the undisputed leader to the hated Apple...

The Rise and Fall of iTunes
Launched in 2001, iTunes has revolutionized the music industry and has come a long way - from the undisputed leader to the hated Apple app. After 18 years, this path is finally completed.
With the launch of the macOS 10.15 Catalina operating system, iTunes’s core functions will be distributed between three services — Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV — thus ending almost two decades of the application’s dominance in the Apple ecosystem. Device synchronization will now be done using the Finder application, which can back up, update, and format devices directly from the sidebar. (All applications are designed for the Mac operating system, and iTunes for Windows will continue to exist for some time).

INTERFACE FOR DIGITAL HUB STRATEGY

Whatever you say, the application has earned the greatest appeal (as, incidentally, the future death), primarily due to its comprehensive coverage.
Initially, iTunes was developed as an interface for the Digital Hub strategy, which Steve Jobs talked about back in 2001. As part of the strategy, the Mac was seen as a haven at the center of all digital life, combining digital cameras, music players and “pocket organizers”.
Subsequently, this became the main concept of iTunes - an application that could accommodate all digital entertainment. In May 2005, video support was added to iTunes, in June of the same year - podcasts, and in January 2010 - books. In addition to supporting iPod music players, iTunes has also become a companion app for the iPhone; Until the advent of iOS 5, iTunes also needed to be used to activate phones, in addition, the service could be used to install and manage applications.
Gradually, this approach radically changed iTunes, turning the media player and companion iPod into an overloaded software product that requires updating almost every time you open it. This was noted by Apple representatives themselves at the WWDC conference, joking that before they abandoned the application, they thought about adding a calendar, Internet browser, and email to its functionality.
As music software, iTunes preceded both the music store it became synonymous with and the iPod (when Apple announced the release of the first version of iTunes, the company said it could be used to move music to “popular MP3 players from the Rio and Creative Labs libraries”) ), however, it was the integration of the three components that made iTunes so massive. Now music tracks could be purchased for a symbolic price (99 cents) or copied from a CD, organized into a playlist and quickly synced to your iPod - all with a single application. Apple believed that if the process was made convenient enough, people would rather pay money for digital music than download it from pirated sites, and the success of the iTunes Store confirmed this.
The first years of iTunes were entirely devoted to creating a digital media player for the iPod, combined with a music store filled with many popular songs. The application was originally launched on Mac in January 2001, on the eve of the release of the first iPod in October of that year. In April 2003, the iTunes Store was launched, the first catalog of which contained a total of 200,000 songs. And only later, after the appearance in October 2003 of iTunes for Windows, owners of Apple devices that do not use Macs (which make up most of the participants in the computer space), for the first time had the opportunity to buy music from Apple and sync it to iPod.

ITUNES FOR WINDOWS MAKES IPOD MAINSTREAM

Now that the service has become available to users of the largest operating system in the world, from a device designed specifically for the Mac, the iPod has turned into a music player that any computer owner could use. Support for Windows meant that a device that could "fit 1000 songs in your pocket" could launch for a decade, and this also applied to its iTunes companion.
The iTunes service became the prototype of the legal downloading of media files, making it so much easier for people to pay for music than to steal it from sites like Napster. Due to the popularity of the ecosystems of iPod and iTunes, Apple soon became a leader in the number of Internet downloads, which allowed it to dictate terms - this led to the indignation of the music industry. The track’s track record, worth 99 cents, has led artists and record labels to blame Apple for devaluing the music. According to the International Federation of Phonogram Manufacturers (IFPI), the total revenue of the music industry fell from $ 20 billion in physical sales alone in 2003 to $ 15 billion in 2012 (at the peak of online sales).
However, with the advent of streaming, the iTunes ownership model for acquiring media files has lost its status quo. The main concept of iTunes - the organization and management of music collections - has become unnecessary, since any media began to be broadcast from the cloud, and for viewing it was necessary to pay a nominal monthly fee. During the first launch of iTunes in 2001, Apple proudly talked about the ability of the service to copy, organize and play music. Now the whole organization has come down to creating a custom playlist in Spotify or Apple Music.

DIGITAL HUB GOES CLOUD

Not only the music space has changed over time. The comprehensive approach used by iTunes turned out to be meaningless, as users found more interesting alternatives in specialized hardware and software products. Video enthusiasts now have Apple TV consoles, Apple TV apps for iOS and Samsung smart TVs. Podcasts and books can now be downloaded directly to mobile devices, and the iCloud cloud has eliminated the need for computer backups, and iOS updates are now downloaded wirelessly.
As for the Digital Hub concept, it’s not that it has left - rather, it has moved to the cloud. As the iPhone replaced the iPod, home computers are no longer the center of digital space. And although the Mac has not yet become an accessory for the iPhone, it has long ceased to be Apple's favorite.
DIGITAL HUB GOES CLOUD
Apparently, Apple is tired of using the legendary “i” in the names of its products. The company abandoned the name iWatch for Apple Watch, the same can be said for Apple Pencil, AirPods or HomePod.
However, the success of iTunes cannot be underestimated. The service significantly outlived most of the software products of its time (for example, Winamp). Windows 10 users make so many iTunes requests to the Windows Store that last year Microsoft convinced Apple to add the service to their store again. However, in the end, Apple’s original concept of providing a single store for all media led to the death of iTunes, as more and more unnecessary garbage was loaded into the application, which ultimately absorbed the useful iTunes functionality. The world has changed, and cloud storage, access from anywhere, and streaming media files have appeared. For those who need iTunes, the service still exists, but officially it has sunk into oblivion.
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The Rise and Fall of iTunes
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