Ap­ple re­places iTunes on Mac with 3 apps

Lodi News-Sentinel - - BUSINESS - By Wendy Lee and Suhauna Hus­sain

When the iTunes Mu­sic store de­buted 16 years ago, dig­i­tal mu­sic meant buy­ing a CD and up­load­ing it to a com­puter or il­le­gally down­load­ing a song from a file-shar­ing ser­vice. Ap­ple changed all that by charg­ing cus­tomers 99 cents for a song they could take with them wher­ever they went.

Over time, iTunes ex­panded into movies and pod­casts, stor­ing all forms of me­dia in a sin­gle desk­top ap­pli­ca­tion.

But that’s not what to­day’s cus­tomers want, and on Mon­day, Ap­ple re­placed its pi­o­neer­ing store on the Mac and in­te­grated its li­brary and store into three dis­tinct apps — mu­sic, pod­casts and TV. The push comes as the tech giant races to catch up in the arena of sub­scrip­tion stream­ing ser­vices, which al­ready has house­hold names such as Spo­tify and Net­flix.

“I see it as a log­i­cal, over­due re­align­ment of me­dia strat­egy,” said Gene Mun­ster, a man­ag­ing part­ner with ven­ture cap­i­tal firm Loup Ven­tures. “Seg­ment­ing into apps makes most sense and helps them sell ser­vices.”

In­dus­try in­sid­ers have long pre­dicted the iTunes Store’s even­tual demise as stream­ing me­dia came to promi­nence and con­sumer tastes shifted.

"Cus­tomers love iTunes and ev­ery­thing it can do, but if there is one thing we hear over and over it’s ‘Can iTunes do even more?’” said Craig Fed­erighi, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of soft­ware engi­neer­ing, at the key­note speech kick­ing off Ap­ple’s an­nual World­wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence in San Jose on Mon­day. He showed what iTunes would look like if it in­te­grated fea­tures like a cal­en­dar or email, but ul­ti­mately his team had a “bet­ter idea” — spread the fea­tures across three apps for Mac users.

When Mac users down­load the new op­er­at­ing sys­tem Catalina later this year, iTunes will no longer be on their desk­top. In­stead, users will go to the Mu­sic app to find their li­brary of iTunes songs and the TV app to find their iTunes shows and movies. Down­loaded au­dio sto­ries will be found in the Pod­casts app. IPhone users will still be able to ac­cess the iTunes Store app on their de­vices.

Ap­ple might use the shift to ex­pand sub­scrip­tion busi­nesses in each app. The change might also al­low Ap­ple to fo­cus on more cus­tom­ized fea­tures for each of its apps so they can bet­ter com­pete against their more spe­cial­ized ri­vals.

“It’s stream­ing com­peti­tors that have jolted the model,” said Daniel Ives, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of eq­uity re­search at Wed­bush Se­cu­ri­ties. “The de­part­ment store ap­proach is not work­ing in to­day’s stream­ing en­vi­ron­ment, where Ap­ple is not the only game in town.”

Al­though Ap­ple dom­i­nated the space for dig­i­tal mu­sic pur­chases in its hey­day, stream­ing mu­sic com­pa­nies have hurt iTunes’ busi­ness, push­ing Ap­ple to launch a sub­scrip­tion mu­sic ser­vice of its own, Ap­ple Mu­sic, in 2015. To­day, Ap­ple Mu­sic has grown to more than 50 mil­lion paid subscriber­s, but it’s still just half the amount of Spo­tify’s global paid subscriber­s.

Marty Tu­dor, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Base Holo­gram Pro­duc­tions, said he’s a Spo­tify sub­scriber be­cause he thinks it’s eas­ier to dis­cover mu­sic on its plat­form. But he has used iTunes on his Mac to ac­cess his many ter­abytes of mu­sic.

He says get­ting used to the Mu­sic app in­stead of iTunes on the new Mac op­er­at­ing sys­tem will de­pend on the in­ter­face.

“If it’s com­pli­cated, it’ll be a prob­lem,” said Tu­dor, 64. “If it’s just like my phone, then I’ll to­tally be com­fort­able with it.”

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