Archive of iTunes Rumors

A growing number of users on Twitter are reporting issues with Apple Music, Beats 1, iTunes and the App Store as nominees are announced for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) exclusively on Beats 1. MacRumors can confirm that many of Apple's cloud-based services are currently not loading or are displaying error messages in the United States and Canada.

Apple System Status July 21
Apple has updated its System Status page to reflect service disruptions for some users for the App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match, iTunes Store, iTunes U, Mac App Store, OS X Software Update, Beats 1 Radio and Volume Purchase Program. The issues have been ongoing since approximately 9:45 AM Eastern.

Update 10:38 AM Pacific: Apple's System Status page now indicates that all services are online again.
Outside of a one-month hiatus in January 2015, Apple has offered a wide range of songs through its weekly "Free on iTunes" program since April 2004, but for the last two weeks, the company has released no free tracks. The last free iTunes release was on June 30, 2015, as tracked by MacRumors forum volunteers, coinciding with the launch of Apple Music in over 100 countries.

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Apple has since removed the "Free on iTunes" graphic from the iTunes Store homepage, and set prices on songs that were kept free even after their weekly promotions ended, leading to speculation that free songs may no longer be offered now that unlimited streaming is available through Apple Music for a fixed monthly price. Apple Music costs $9.99 per month after a free three-month trial period.

It would not be entirely surprising if Apple shuttered the program, whether temporarily or permanently, but no official announcement has been made. A link to the "Free on iTunes" section remains accessible on the righthand side of the iTunes Store, where Apple continues to offer other free content, including movies, TV shows, apps, books and podcasts, in the United States.

Thanks to MacRumors forum members Doctor Q and JamesMike!
newitunes122logoApple today released iTunes 12.2.1, a minor update that introduces some much needed bug fixes for iTunes Match and other features introduced with Apple Music. Apple Music was first released two weeks ago, but included several major bugs with iTunes Match that caused the deletion of entire music libraries and other issues, such as an inability to sign up for Apple Music for former iTunes Match subscribers.

The iTunes 12.2.1 update is available immediately from the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
- Fixes an issue for iTunes Match where iTunes incorrectly changed some songs from Matched to Apple Music.
- Provides a way to correct a library problem affecting former iTunes Match subscribers.
- Includes minor bug fixes and improvements for Beats 1.
Today's update fixes the iTunes Match issue that caused iTunes to incorrectly label songs from Matched to Apple Music and it will allow several former iTunes Match subscribers who were unable to sign up for Apple Music to get the service for the first time. In addition, it also includes bug fixes for the Beats 1 radio station, which is built into Apple Music.

iTunes 12.2, first released two weeks ago alongside iOS 8.4 and OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite, is the second major update to iTunes 12 and the version of iTunes that includes support for the Apple Music service. Apple Music lets iTunes listeners get access to on-demand music, create playlists, and more, plus it includes the Beats 1 radio station and Apple Music Connect, Apple's artist-centric social network.
newitunes122logoThe U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday voided $532.9 million in damages awarded to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in February in an iTunes-related patent lawsuit, per Reuters.

The report claims federal judge Rodney Gilstrap has set a new damages trial on September 14 after ruling that "his jury instructions might have 'skewed' jurors' understanding of the damages that Apple should pay."

Apple was initially ordered to pay $532.9 million in damages to Smartflash LLC after a federal jury in the Tyler, Texas courtroom found certain iTunes apps to be infringing upon the company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems.

Apple countered that Smartflash LLC was exploiting the patent system to collect royalties.
“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”
Smartflash LLC was originally seeking $852 million in damages, and claimed it was entitled to a percentage of sales of Apple products used to access iTunes, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple argued that $4.5 million was fair at most, claiming it does not infringe upon any of Smartflash LLC's inventions and that its patents are invalid.

Apple likely still faces a fine of a different amount pending the results of the new damages trial scheduled for September, but the iPhone maker plans to appeal the decision.
IPSWApple is no longer signing the iOS 8.3 software update for all compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, meaning that users can no longer downgrade to that version using iTunes. Apple is now only signing iOS 8.4 and later.

iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users that have jailbroken their device on iOS 8.3 should not worry about accidentally updating to iOS 8.4, as an untethered jailbreak is available for both software versions courtesy of Chinese tool TaiG.
Apple today released iTunes 12.2 for OS X Yosemite users, introducing desktop support for the new Apple Music service. Launched today as part of iOS 8.4, Apple Music lets iTunes users to listen to on-demand music, create playlists, find music suitable for every activity, and more. Apple Music is also accompanied by Apple Music Connect, Apple's new artist-centric social network, and the Beats 1 24/7 live worldwide radio station.

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iTunes 12.2 can be downloaded immediately through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Apple has also released a new version of iTunes 12.2 for Windows users.
This update includes:

For You. Get playlist and album recommendations you'll love, selected just for you based on your musical tastes. The more you listen, the better For You gets.

New. Discover the best new music, handpicked by our music editors. Explore mixes created just for activities like exercising, or find great handcrafted playlists in a wide variety of genres. With Apple Music, you'll always have the perfect soundtrack for any occasion.

Connect. A single place to connect with your favorite artists. See thoughts, photos, music, and videos shared from your favorite artists. You can comment on or love anything an artist has posted, and the artist can respond to you directly.

Beats 1. Tune in to Beats 1, broadcast live from cities around the globe. Enjoy music, interviews, exclusive radio shows, and the best of what's going on in the world of music. Beats 1 -- worldwide and always on.

Apple Music Radio. Radio has been completely redesigned. Play from Featured Stations, where our music experts hand select every song you hear. Or, start a new station from any artist or song. In addition, it's now easy to quickly return to your favorite stations with Recently Played.

My Music. Find all your music in one place, including iTunes purchases, music you've imported from CD, and now songs from Apple Music.

iTunes Store. The iTunes Store is still the best place to buy your favorite music -- one song or album at a time.
Apple Music in iTunes 12.2 brings several new sections to the music portion of the app, including "For You," which displays recommended music that you might like based on preferences you've entered and past music you've listed to, and a "New" section that offers up new and trending music.

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iTunes' new Apple Music "For You" section

There's also a section for Apple Music Connect, Apple's new artist-centric social network. With Connect, you can read status updates and see photos, videos, and more from your favorite artists. A radio section houses the Beats 1 radio station and other radio stations curated by music experts or based on various songs and artists.

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Apple Music Connect in iTunes

iTunes 12.2 is the second major update to iTunes 12, which debuted alongside OS X Yosemite. iTunes 12.1, the previous major update, brought an iTunes widget for the Notification Center and performance improvements.

All iTunes users can access Apple Music for free for a three month trial period. After that time, an individual subscription can be purchased for $9.99 and a family subscription with support for up to 6 users can be purchased for $14.99. Beats 1 radio and existing iTunes Radio stations will continue to be available at no cost.
A number of iCloud services are currently experiencing downtime in the United States, Canada and other countries, an issue that became widespread within the past hour or so. A significant number of users have tipped MacRumors and posted on Twitter and other social media platforms about being unable to sign into iCloud or access related services such as Mail and Find My iPhone.

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iTunes has also been experiencing an outage since at least 8:30 AM Pacific, although Apple has yet to update its system status page to reflect any ongoing issues with either iCloud or iTunes. MacRumors will continue to track Apple's system status page and the affected services and providing the latest status updates about the outage as new information becomes available.

Apple services have experienced multiple instances of downtime in recent months, including a prolonged App Store and iTunes outage in early March, and subsequent downtime in late March, followed by a TestFlight outage for developers in May. Apple has historically been rather slow at updating it system status page to reflect any ongoing issues, usually doing so several minutes after issues begin.

Update 9:09 AM Pacific: iCloud services have been restored for some users.
itunesiconSoftware maker OpenTV has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple based on accusations that several of the company's products and services, including iTunes, infringe upon five of its patents related to streaming digital video. The civil suit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and OpenTV is seeking undiclosed compensation for the alleged patent infringement, according to Re/code.
"OpenTV alleges that Apple’s iTunes software for downloading or streaming rented movies violates its patents for securely delivering media to consumer devices. The suit claims that other companies, including Apple rival Google, Cisco Systems and Disney, have licensed its technology."
In late February, a Tyler, Texas district court ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in a separate iTunes-related lawsuit for infringing upon the Texas-based company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems. Apple argued that Smartflash was exploiting the patent system and vowed to appeal the decision.

OpenTV was an early provider of interactive TV software used in millions of TV set-top boxes, according to the report, and the wholly owned subsidiary of The Kudelski Group now creates software for on-demand video services and digital video recorders. OpenTV's patents belong to a portfolio of more than 4,400 pending and issued patents related to the secure delivery of media.
Apple today released iTunes 12.1.2, a minor update that primarily improves support for syncing photos from iOS devices to the new Photos app for Mac released yesterday as part of OS X 10.10.3.

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This update improves support for syncing photos to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch from the new Photos app for OS X. In addition, this update also adds several refinements to the Get Info window and improves overall stability.
iTunes 12.1.2 is a free download through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
itunesiconAs rumors gear up surrounding the revamped Apple iTunes/Beats music service, a new report claims that the company will opt out of offering a free advertising-supported base tier for its upcoming streaming service (via Re/code).

The company will allow customers an initial trial period of some kind, but following that users will have to pay to continue listening to music, the cost of which most recent rumors agree will be around $7.99.

With the slow decline of digital downloads and the steady rise of streaming services, sources close to Apple media head Eddy Cue and Beats Music founder Jimmy Iovine state that the two agree the music industry, and streaming specifically, “needs to get behind a paywall."
Apple executives have been telling the music industry it can help them roll back the tide of free digital music by relaunching its own subscription streaming service this year. Unlike Spotify and YouTube, Apple’s service won’t offer a free “tier” of music interspersed with ads — after an initial trial period, you’ll need to pay to play.

Now Apple is negotiating with the music labels for licenses for a revamped version of Beats. Sources say Apple would like to make a splash by getting high-profile artists to distribute their music with Apple before it makes its way to other services.
If made official by Apple, the move would be a direct contrast to a service like Spotify, which allows its 60 million worldwide users (15 million of which are paid subscribers) to listen to anything they want for free, with ads interspersed within the music.

Jonathan Prince, head of communications and public policy for Spotify, said that the company's research found that 12 percent of iTunes users have migrated to Spotify, with 40 percent of that group paying for the premium Spotify service. Prince uses this statistic to claim that, despite the service's immense popularity, they aren't single-highhandedly the culprit behind the declining digital download sales of recent years.

Despite these new reports, similar sources say that the company plans to keep the iTunes Radio service intact, claiming web-based radio won't directly impede music sales. The most recent news regarding the long-rumored Apple music service suggests an official unveiling by the company at WWDC this year, with Apple tweaking aspects of the current state of iTunes all the way up to the launch of the revamped service.
beatsmusicApple will launch a revamped streaming music service in June at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, according to 9to5Mac and TechCrunch. The report claims the new Beats-based service will debut at Apple's WWDC keynote, likely during the week of June 8, as opposed to an announcement taking place at the upcoming "Spring Forward" media event on March 9.
"Apple currently plans to launch the new music service as part of an iOS 8.4 upgrade for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch following WWDC, but a final decision has not yet been made. It’s possible that the service will be bundled into iOS 9 this fall, which is expected to have a significant focus on bug fixes and stability improvements."
As detailed last month, the purported streaming music service is expected to cost up to $7.99 per month, a few dollars cheaper than Apple-owned Beats Music and competitors such as Spotify, Rdio and Google Play Music. The service will be deeply integrated into iTunes on Mac and the stock Music app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and apps will also be available for Apple TV and Android.

Apple is developing its first in-house Android application for the upcoming streaming music service, one of the rarer times that the iPhone maker offers cross-platform support for its products and services. Nevertheless, as the release of iTunes for Windows in the early 2000s helped drive sales of the iPod, expanding beyond the iPhone, iPad and Mac will provide Apple with a much larger pool of potential subscribers in the competitive streaming music market.

Apple is also reportedly wrapping up development of its next-generation Apple TV set-top box that could ship with an improved, tactile remote control and all-new operating system bundled with an App Store. Apple allegedly planned to release a new Apple TV as soon as this month, but the release may be delayed until later this year or beyond until Apple reaches agreements with more content providers like HBO Now.
Following several months of experimentation with how it curates the music portion of its iTunes Store, Apple has rolled back some of those changes to restore an emphasis on editorial rather than sales-based criteria, according to Billboard.

The news comes after a few independent record labels voiced concern over their artists being lost under the better-performing singers and albums of bigger labels. The company has apparently to not fully eliminate sales-based algorithms for deciding on what content to feature, but have "toned down" that aspect to allow editorial discretion to once again steer the offerings on iTunes' main page.

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After a few weeks of experimenting with that presentation, the iTunes teamed toned down the algorithm and re-asserted the role that editorial discretion has in choosing which music is highlighted in the store. "iTunes will always be driven by editorial discretion," says a source who is familiar with Apple's online store philosophy. "Editorial choice will always be at the heart of what music is featured in the store."
Despite the introduction of the sales-focused algorithm towards the end of 2014 and into the new year, the indie music market still found itself fairly well-represented on the storefront. As Billboard reports, the sector got 40 percent of carousel ads on the main page of iTunes, 50 percent of the "New Music" section, 37 percent of the "Hot Tracks" section, and 20 percent of what Apple calls the "Bricks", the rectangular-shaped ads populating the store.
Indie labels were worried that they would get lost in the shuffle with all the changes happening in the iTunes Store. They were concerned that a sales velocity algorithm playing a strong role in determining what would be featured in its sliders would bolster the advantage of the majors, who tend to have bigger-selling records.
Various other concerns of smaller labels were alleviated, as well, including iTunes' ongoing effort to clean up song duplicates in the storefront, to an extent where some songs were taken down despite being in compliance with the company's rules. But, as one indie executive noted, if a proper case is made to bring back the music, Apple will listen. "iTunes are flexible; they are not an account who says 'its our way or the highway.'"

Perhaps the biggest shift on the back-end of iTunes relates to how pre-order numbers factor into album sales. Previously, pre-order numbers were added to launch day sales, rocketing popular pre-release albums to the top of charts on release. The new configuration wipes pre-order figures away on launch day and starts all albums on level ground, requiring albums to garner successful day one-and-onward launches to hit the top spots.

Apple has been steadily building up iTunes in preparation for the future integration with Beats Music this year. The company has most recently hired BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe to possibly work on its iTunes Radio service and acquired media analytics company Semetric to integrate its Musicmetric tracking service into the iTunes/Beats refresh. Apple has also been seeking expertise in music journalism, perhaps to fill out editorial content appearing alongside listings in the iTunes Store.