Archive of iTunes Rumors

Apple today confirmed reports of an issue that causes music from personal collections to be deleted, telling The Loop it only affects a small number of users and that a fix is incoming in an iTunes update next week.

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“In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission,” Apple said. “We’re taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we’re releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.”
Last week, debate raged over the supposed glitch after Vellum's Jake Pinkstone wrote a blogpost complaining that Apple Music had deleted 122 GB of his personal music collection without his permission after he joined the service. The deletion occurred after Pinkstone had his music library scanned by Apple to make his collection available across his devices.

Confusion ensued after Pinkstone was told by an Apple Support Representative named Amber that Apple Music's matching system was "functioning as intended." When asked whether Apple Music was supposed to delete his personal music without his permission, Amber responded "yes." Amber's statement, however, was inaccurate according to Apple's own support document.

While the causation of the bug is still unknown, as Apple has failed to reproduce the issue, the company's statement suggests Apple has narrowed down the issue to iTunes rather than the Apple Music service. It's unclear whether the fix will arrive with a minor or major iTunes update. However, one possibility is iTunes 12.4, which will include a minor redesign and arrive in the next couple of weeks, according to a MacRumors source.
newitunes122logoApple allegedly has an aggressive plan to "terminate" music downloads from iTunes within two years, reports Digital Music News citing sources with "close and active business relationships" with Apple.

Apple is also rumored to be considering a three to four year timeline for the shutdown of iTunes downloads, but overall discussions with Apple executives are said to focus "not on if, but when" the company should retire music downloads. Termination of music downloads could be staggered by country based on the popularity of streaming content in different regions.
Back to the story, the sources indicated that a range of shutdown timetables are being considered by Apple, though one executive noted that "keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn't really on the table anymore." Also under discussion is a plan to "ride the [iTunes music download offering] out for the next 3-4 years, maybe longer," when paid music downloads are likely to be an afterthought in a streaming-dominated industry. [...]

According to one source, an initial shutdown could take place in 'tier 1' countries like the United States, UK, and leading countries in Europe and Asia, with 'tier 2' and 'tier 3' countries experiencing a staggered shutdown in subsequent years.
The timeline is unclear because Apple's iTunes business continues to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but it is on the decline due to the rise of streaming music services. According to music industry Mark Mulligan, iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million in 2019, down from $3.9 billion in 2012. Mulligan believes Apple's download business could be 10 times smaller than its streaming music business by 2020.

Apple is also said to be considering ending music downloads due to the confusion it causes with Apple Music, mixing downloaded music purchases with Apple Music content.

Late last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Music now has 13 million paying subscribers, up from 11 million users in February. Apple Music originally launched on June 30, 2015 in more than 100 countries and at its current growth rate, Apple is on track to have 15 million subscribers at its one-year anniversary.

Update: Apple rep Tom Neumayr contacted Recode and said the report that Apple would stop iTunes music downloads in two years is "not true."
Back in February, iTunes chief Eddy Cue promised a new version of iTunes would be coming out with OS X 10.11.4, featuring a simpler design that makes Apple Music easier to use. That update wasn’t included in OS X 10.11.4 and has been delayed, but a source has shared some screenshots of the upcoming iTunes 12.4 update with MacRumors, giving us a look at the changes Apple plans to introduce in the near future.

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A redesigned dropdown media picker will be used to switch between Music, TV Shows, Movies, and other content, replacing the existing navigation icons. Like the current menu, the new menu is customizable, so sections of iTunes that are not used can be hidden from view. Forward and back buttons can be used to navigate between different sections.

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A persistent sidebar located on the left side of the app is being added, which will make it easier to access different portions of an iTunes Library like specific songs or albums. The sidebar, like the menu bar, can be edited to show desired content, and songs can be dragged and dropped to playlists.

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Menus in iTunes 12.4 are being simplified to make them easier to use, and the available content in Library can be customized using the redesigned View menu. Menus will be "easier to use" updated with new navigation options.

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The mini player will also get some slight design changes, with the Up Next song feature being relocated to the right side of the player where it is more clearly visible.

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It is not clear when Apple will debut iTunes 12.4, but our source says it should be released within in the next few weeks, putting a launch date in late May or early June.

Rumors have suggested Apple is also planning to introduce significant changes to Apple Music in the iOS Music app in iOS 10, and additional tweaks could be made to iTunes in OS X 10.12 to mirror changes being introduced in iOS 10.
Drake's latest album made its global streaming debut on Apple Music last night and is now available to buy on iTunes. Priced at $13.99, Views (previously titled Views From The Six) features 20 new tracks, including the slow jam hit "Hotline Bling".

The Canadian rapper's album will be exclusive to Apple Music for one week, after which it will become available on other music streaming services like Spotify.

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Views is just the latest tactically timed release in an ongoing battle among music streaming services for exclusivity, with Drake forming rank alongside Taylor Swift and Adele in Apple's corner, as the company faces off against competing streaming service Tidal's frontline co-owners Jay Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, and Rihanna.

Last week, Beyoncé's newest album Lemonade launched on Tidal approximately 24 hours before it became available for users to purchase on the likes of iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, and remains the only service able to stream the album.

Drake and Apple have been in a partnership since the launch of Apple Music last summer, with the artist contributing his own Beats 1 radio show to the streaming service. Drake recently confirmed his partnership with Apple will continue into live music as Apple Music will sponsor his "Summer Sixteen" tour.

Drake's fourth studio album comes one year after If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which also had its debut on iTunes. In August, Quartz reported that Drake was the second most played artist on Apple Music.
After a world premiere on HBO last night, Beyoncé's newest album "Lemonade" launched on Jay Z's music streaming service Tidal, with a period of timed exclusivity not divulged by the service. According to sources knowledgeable of the launch plans for Lemonade, that exclusivity window might be just 24 hours, with the album's release on services including iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play expected to hit Sunday night at midnight (via The New York Times).

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Earlier today, Tidal announced that fans would be able to purchase Lemonade outright for $17.99 without having to subscribe to the service if they weren't already paying users. The $17.99 "visual album" includes 12 songs and videos, including the one-hour special that debuted on HBO Saturday night. The album's download cost on rival services will most likely be around the same amount.

Even though its download exclusivity will be quite short, Lemonade will remain a streaming exclusive on Tidal "in perpetuity," according to an official representative at Tidal. The unnamed source officially confirmed to Billboard today that "the service will be the only streamer that will carry Lemonade."

Tidal has had a few albums exclusively tied to the service that eventually went on to debut on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. Most recently, Kanye West famously tweeted that his new album "The Life of Pablo" would "never never never" come to Apple Music or iTunes, which it did about two months later. The move has even put West and Jay Z in hot water with their fans, one of whom is suing the artists and Tidal itself, claiming that they had a plan to "fraudulently induce millions of American consumers into paying for Tidal's rescue," using a false exclusivity window for The Life of Pablo as a ploy to bring new users into the fold.

Update: Lemonade is officially available for users to purchase for $17.99 from the iTunes store [Direct Link].
Disney today released Star Wars: The Force Awakens onto digital platforms, including iTunes, Disney Movies Anywhere, and other Digital HD platforms. The company first confirmed the release date in early March, also announcing the long-awaited film will launch at physical retailers on April 5.

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The iTunes version of the film has the same bonus content as the standard retail editions set to launch next week, including a table read of the script and a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the film's creatures. Fans who purchase the film on April 5 will have a handful of retailer exclusive editions to choose from, some of which include bonus content unavailable elsewhere.
iTunes Extras: Discover the complete story behind the film's making in Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature-length documentary. In The Story Awakens: The Table Read, cast members reflect on the memorable day they all came together for the first time to read the movie's script. Plus Crafting Creatures, Building BB-8, Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight, a host of Deleted Scenes, and more.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available to download from the iTunes Store for $19.99 in HD, with the SD version to follow on April 5 for $14.99. [Direct Link]
newitunes122logoAlongside OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan, Apple has released an iTunes 12.3.3 update, introducing support for the iPhone SE and iPad Pro. Following the update, those who purchase a 9.7-inch iPad Pro or an iPhone SE will be able to sync their devices with their computers once they are available for purchase.

In a recent interview, Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue promised Apple would introduce a new version of iTunes with an improved Apple Music interface, but new Apple Music features are not included in the release notes so it's likely that iTunes update will be coming at a later time.

Today's 12.3.3 iTunes update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.
Disney today announced that the newest film in the popular Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will be available on iTunes, Disney Movies Anywhere, and other Digital HD sources on Friday, April 1, several days ahead of a planned April 5 Blu-ray and DVD release.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, pitting new characters like scavenger Rey and former stormtrooper Finn against Kylo Ren and the First Order. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher also reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia.

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Digital bonus features will vary by retailer, but may include behind-the-scenes interviews and details on the making of the film, the building of the BB-8 droid, deleted scenes, and more. Apple and Disney have not specified which features will be included with the iTunes version of the movie.
- Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey - For the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature documentary
- The Story Awakens: The Table Read - Cast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie's script
- Building BB-8 - See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe
- Crafting Creatures - Watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life
- Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight - Go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren
- John Williams: The Seventh Symphony - The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens
- ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force - An insider's look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie's visual effects.
- Force For Change - Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others.
Ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Apple debuted a Star Wars-themed Apple Music radio station, released a digital collection of all Star Wars movies, and promoted the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already available for pre-order from iTunes for $19.99 for HD and $14.99 for SD. [Direct Link]
Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi spoke with John Gruber in this week's episode of "The Talk Show," where they commented on recent opinions that Apple's software isn't up to snuff and offered some details on a new version of iTunes coming in OS X 10.11.4.

Last week, Re/code's Walt Mossberg wrote a piece entitled "Apple's Apps Need Work," pointing towards a "gradual degradation" in quality in several Apple apps and services like iCloud, Mail, and Photos. iTunes for the desktop was one of the most heavily criticized apps, with Mossberg saying he "dreads" opening it because it's "bloated, complex, and sluggish."

During the podcast, Gruber asked Eddy Cue about Mossberg's opinion, prompting him to give some background on how Apple wanted the iTunes experience to work. iTunes, Cue said, was designed at a time when people synced their devices via cable, so offering a centralized place with all of a user's content was key. With Apple Music, Apple decided on a design that would put music front and center while also integrating cloud music with hard copies purchased through iTunes.

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"We decided in the short term that what we wanted to do is really make it when you're in music and iTunes, all you see is music," said Cue. He went on to explain that Apple is continually re-evaluating iTunes, and there are plans to release a refreshed version alongside OS X 10.11.4 next month.
"That's not to say we are continuing... and will continue to think about what's the best way to architect the app and whether it makes sense to do a separate app for some of the components that are in there or all of the components that are in there. But right now, we think we've designed iTunes and you'll see we've got a new refresh with the new version of OS X that's coming out next month that makes it even easier to use in the music space."
Cue and Federighi went on to talk about the issues that arise whenever Apple makes major changes to software, as there are always people who prefer not to see significant changes. According to Federighi, there's a "tricky balancing act" with software updates.
"People are serious about their music and their collection, and so I think we debate pretty heavily internally the right way to evolve these things. We tend to err on the side of being pretty bold, but there's a lot of responsibility.
The two also highlighted the immense scale that Apple is working on, with more than 1 billion active devices and 782 million iCloud users. More than 200,000 iMessages per second are sent at peak times, and there are more than 750 million transactions per week in the iTunes Store and the App Store. Apple Music has grown to 11 million subscribers and more than 2.5 million errors in Maps have been fixed, a number presented as evidence that Apple is continually working on its software.

"I would say first there's nothing we care about more," said Federighi, speaking on Apple's software and services. He believes Apple's core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years, but pointed towards an ever-raising bar that pushes Apple to keep evolving and implementing new features. "Every year we realize the things we were good at last year and the techniques we were using to build the best software we can are not adequate for the next year because the bar keeps going up," he said.

Federighi and Cue's full discussion with John Gruber about the state of software, the desktop version of iTunes, and Apple's efforts to expand its public beta program, can be listed to over on the Daring Fireball website.
Apple has updated its System Status page to reflect that many users may be unable to access, purchase, or update apps on the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Multiple other iCloud services are or were also experiencing downtime, including the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, and iWork for iCloud.

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The issues began shortly before 7:00 a.m. Pacific and appear to be widespread, affecting customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere, according to social media posts. Apple TV services and Apple's Volume Purchase Program are also affected by the service issues.

Update (9:10 a.m. Pacific): Apple's System Status page shows that the App Store, iTunes, and other iCloud services have been restored.
Apple has met with TV producers and Hollywood studios about developing original TV shows to offer exclusively to its iTunes customers, according to TheStreet. The article comes by way of independent contributor Ronald Grover, a longtime entertainment business journalist who has previously covered the media and entertainment industry for Reuters and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

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The original content could spearhead Apple's plans to launch its oft-rumored streaming TV service, which has reportedly been placed on hold due to the iPhone maker's difficulties in securing content deals with owners like CBS, ABC, Fox, Disney, and Viacom. The report, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, claims Apple could announce a cable-like offering alongside the iPhone 7 in September.
The Cupertino-based tech giant began sounding out Hollywood's creative community late last year, but has yet to sign any agreements, according to two people with knowledge of the overtures. One plan is to have deals in place so Apple can announce exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September, when it is expected to unveil its iPhone 7, said one of the people.
The original TV shows would presumably be available for rent or purchase on iTunes, and/or through a subscription-based service like Netflix that would provide on-demand access to unlimited programming for a set monthly cost. Apple's streaming TV service has been rumored to cost between $30 and $40 per month, but that price was contingent upon a "skinny bundle" of TV channels rather than original programming.

Apple's discussions with Hollywood executives are being led by iTunes chief Eddy Cue, and Robert Kondrk, vice-president of iTunes content, according to the report. In a recent interview, Cue said customers should be "able to buy whatever they want, however they want," and he used the App Store as an example of how Apple provides users with multiple ways to purchase content.


Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple has shown interest in acquiring Time Warner assets, which include CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, Cartoon Network, its Warner Bros. movies division, and more. Gaining exclusive rights to the popular HBO series Game of Thrones would certainly give Apple a head start on its streaming TV service, along with Silicon Valley and other original programming.

Netflix, which collaborates with Hollywood on exclusive TV shows like Daredevil, House of Cards, Jessica Jones, and Orange is the New Black, has proven that original programming can be highly popular among consumers. Apple adopting a similar strategy could help bolster its own streaming TV service, which may be accessible on the web and devices like the Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
Apple today officially ended free streaming of its iTunes Radio channels worldwide, incorporating the catalogue of stations into its subscription-based Apple Music service.

The change follows Apple's announcement earlier this month that its free radio-listening feature would be discontinued at the end of January but would remain available to Apple Music subscribers.

As of this morning, iOS Music app users who tap on a radio station are bounced to a screen prompting them to join Apple's premium streaming music service.

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Likewise, iTunes users on a Mac who attempt to access the stations or create their own are met with a dialog window asking them to "Get on Our Wavelength" and join Apple Music.

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Users with an iTunes Match subscription are also no longer able to access the stations. However, Apple's Beats 1 radio channel remains available to iTunes users worldwide as a free listening option.

Apple had quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music on June 30, 2015. However, after the company's decision to wind down its mobile iAd platform, the feature was already being limited in other regions to those who pay for Apple's streaming music service.

iTunes Radio was originally released with iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7 as a free ad-supported service, offering music discovery through featured and genre stations provided by Apple or through the creation of new stations based on a specific artist or song.